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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Weekly Address: President Obama – Growing Our Economy from the Middle Out

The President’s Weekly Address post is also the Weekend Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President discussed his recent trip to Minneapolis where he met a working mother named Rebekah, who wrote the President to share the challenges her family and many middle-class Americans are facing where they work hard and sacrifice yet still can’t seem to get ahead. But instead of focusing on growing the middle class and expanding opportunity for all, Republicans in Congress continue to block commonsense economic proposals such as raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and making college more affordable.

The President will keep fighting his economic priorities in the weeks and months ahead, because he knows the best way to expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans and continue to strengthen the economy is to grow it from the middle out.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Focusing on the Economic Priorities for the Middle Class Nationwide

Hi, everybody.  This week, I spent a couple days in Minneapolis, talking with people about their lives – their concerns, their successes, and their hopes for the future.

I went because of a letter I received from a working mother named Rebekah, who shared with me the hardships her young family has faced since the financial crisis.  She and her husband Ben were just newlyweds expecting their first child, Jack, when the housing crash dried up his contracting business.  He took what jobs he could, and Rebekah took out student loans and retrained for a new career.  They sacrificed – for their kids, and for each other.  And five years later, they’ve paid off debt, bought their first home, and had their second son, Henry.

In her letter to me, she wrote, “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”  And in many ways, that’s America’s story these past five years.  We are a strong, tight-knit family that’s made it through some very tough times.

Today, over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs.  By measure after measure, our economy is doing better than it was five years ago.

But as Rebekah also wrote in her letter, there are still too many middle-class families like hers who do everything right – who work hard and who sacrifice – but can’t seem to get ahead.  It feels like the odds are stacked against them.  And with just a small change in our priorities, we could fix that.

The problem is, Republicans in Congress keep blocking or voting down almost every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.  This year alone, they’ve said no to raising the minimum wage, no to fair pay, no to student loan reform, no to extending unemployment insurance.  And rather than invest in education that helps working families get ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.

This obstruction keeps the system rigged for those at the top, and rigged against the middle class.  And as long as they insist on doing it, I’ll keep taking actions on my own – like the actions I’ve taken already to attract new jobs, lift workers’ wages, and help students pay off their loans.  I’ll do my job.  And if it makes Republicans in Congress mad that I’m trying to help people out, they can join me, and we’ll do it together.

The point is, we could do so much more as a country – as a strong, tight-knit family – if Republicans in Congress were less interested in stacking the deck for those at the top, and more interested in growing the economy for everybody.  

So rather than more tax breaks for millionaires, let’s give more tax breaks to help working families pay for child care or college.  Rather than protect tax loopholes that let big corporations set up tax shelters overseas, let’s put people to work rebuilding roads and bridges right here in America.  Rather than stack the decks in favor of those who’ve already succeeded, let’s realize that we are stronger as a nation when we offer a fair shot to every American.

I’m going to spend some time talking about these very choices in the week ahead.  That’s because we know from our history that our economy doesn’t grow from the top-down, it grows from the middle-out.  We do better when the middle class does better.  That’s the American way.  That’s what I believe in.  And that’s what I’ll keep fighting for.

Have a great Fourth of July, everybody – and good luck to Team USA down in Brazil.


Bolding added.



  1. The GOP Senate primary race is not over as Chris McDaniel has not conceded and is looking into “irregularities” including “blah people” voting.

    Josh Marshall asks this question: “Could Travis Childers win?

    I’ve seen countless divisive primaries where it seems like a party’s factions can’t heal, that one side won’t turnout for the winning candidate, etc. Truth: that almost never happens. Wait a few weeks and feelings will have cooled down. […]

    So go in with the assumption that this kind of outrage fades. But I’m hearing enough to think that this could be one of the very rare exceptions. I’m not predicting a Democratic victory. I’m just saying I’m starting to think it might be possible.

    Er, no. I think that the Republican base hates Democrats more than they hate what Cochran and the Barbours have done to their hero. It won’t even be close.

  2. Planned Parenthood has sent out the call for more clinic escorts:

    Planned Parenthood immediately began recruiting more clinic escorts to accompany patients past protesters – the organization tweeted on Thursday afternoon that more than 100 people have already signed up – and will start utilizing escorts on more days of the week. [The head of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Marty] Walz has also been in touch with law enforcement officials across the state to make sure they’re prepared to respond to potential issues outside of clinics.

    And the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has some plans to tailor their laws, per the Supreme Court’s ruling:

    “The court has said our statute is not narrowly tailored enough. We’re going to get right back to work and devise ways in which we can make sure women’s rights are protected,” Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who defended the buffer zone law in court, said on Thursday.

    Even though Massachusetts can’t have a fixed zone around clinics anymore, the state could enact another type of law targeted at protesters – such as a law that makes it a crime to follow and harass someone within 15 feet of an abortion clinic, a law that gives police more power to break up a crowd gathered in front of clinic, or a law that prevents the obstruction of driveways.

    I hope they can find something to keep women seeking legal medical procedures safe from those whose “pro-life” beliefs include killing clinic workers and doctors who perform abortions. The buffer was not put there to stomp on anyone’s first amendment rights: it was put there to save lives in a place where lives had been lost in the past.

    p.s. The Rude Pundit has an idea. :)

  3. An interesting historical analysis by Fareed Zakaria

    Clinton will make history in a big and dramatic way if she is elected – as the first woman president. But she will make history in a smaller, more complicated sense as well. She would join just three other non-incumbents since 1900 to win the White House after their party had been in power for eight years. She would be the first to win who was not the vice president or the clear protégé of the incumbent president. […]

    But the challenge for Clinton can be seen through the prism of her predecessors – should she run on change or continuity? The three who won all pledged to extend the president’s policies. […]

    Today the country is in a slow recovery and President Obama’s approval ratings are low. This might suggest that the best course would be for Clinton to distance herself from her former boss. But Obamacare and other policies of this president are very popular among many Democratic groups.

    I would add that this president is personally very popular among many Democratic groups.

    The author suggests that Hillary Clinton’s book has not tipped her hand as to what she will run on. It is possibly because she is not sure yet herself or that she simply wants to leave the door open for whatever the facts on ground are in 2016.

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