Barack Obama photo

The President's Weekly Address

January 31, 2015

Hi, everybody. At a moment when our economy is growing, our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, and wages are starting to rise again, we have to make some choices about the kind of country we want to be. Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead?

That was the focus of my State of the Union Address: middle class economics, the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

This week, I will send a budget to Congress that's built on those values. We'll help working families' paychecks go farther by treating things like paid leave and childcare like the economic priorities that they are. We'll offer Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skills so they can earn higher wages, with plans like making 2 years of community college free for every responsible student. And we'll keep building the world's most attractive economy for high-wage jobs, with new investments in research, infrastructure, manufacturing, and expanded access to faster Internet and new markets.

We can afford to make these investments. Since I took office, we've cut our deficits by about two-thirds, the fastest sustained deficit reduction since just after the end of World War II. We just have to be smarter about how we pay for our priorities, and that's what my budget does. It proposes getting rid of special interest loopholes in our Tax Code and using those savings to cut taxes for middle class families and reward businesses that invest in America. It refuses to play politics with our homeland security and funds our national security priorities at home and abroad. And it undoes the arbitrary, across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester for our domestic priorities and matches those investments dollar for dollar in resources our troops need to get the job done.

Now, I know there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach. And like I said in my State of the Union, if they have ideas that will help middle class families feel some economic security, I'm all in to work with them. But I will keep doing everything I can to help more working families make ends meet and get ahead—not just because we want everyone to share in America's success, but because we want everyone to contribute to America's success.

That's the way the middle class thrived in the last century, and that's how it will thrive again.

Thanks, everybody. And have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 5:15 p.m. on January 30 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on January 31. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 30, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on January 31.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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