Strengthening the Middle Class

Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, we’ve seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth as of June, with 12.8 million jobs added (the longest streak on record) and the lowest unemployment rate in years at 5.3 percent. It’s a welcome contrast to when President Obama first took office we were shedding 800,000 jobs a month. That’s the economy he inherited from George W. Bush, but thanks to bold leadership and faith in the American people, the economy is moving again. But while the economy is well into recovery mode, there is a lot more work to do to get more people back to work.

Building a stronger middle class starts with making smart investments in growing industries like clean energy with training programs to empower Americans with the skills they need to succeed. Growing our high-tech manufacturing sector will help American businesses compete globally.
We also need to invest in repairing our broken roads, bridges and modernizing our schools to provide the basic fundamentals for a nation dedicated to strengthening the middle class.

We also need to stop stacking the deck against those looking to enter the workforce out of school. The problem of college affordability and the potentially debilitating load of student loan debt prevents tomorrow’s high-skilled workers and business leaders from meeting their full potential.
The income inequality gap in the nation is larger than it has even been. CEO pay has multiplied every year while minimum wage workers haven’t gotten a raise in six years, leaving even those working full time living in poverty. The investments the President is urging Congress to make with him will grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down.

Sadly, Republicans in Congress and running for President still cling to the view that the only prescription for strengthening the economy is more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. Sadder still, some Republicans think workers are to blame when they can’t get ahead in a game where the wealthy special interests have written all the rules.

Jeb Bush recently picked up the mantle of most out-of-touch politician from Mitt “47%” Romney when he argued “People need to work longer hours.” Jeb thinks the American workers are too lazy despite clocking in on average 47 hours a week, while nearly 4 in 10 say they work at least 50 hours a week – more than other large industrial nation. Keeping workers away from their families longer is no recipe for a stronger economy, but paying them more is.

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