U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday pledged to unveil “big and bold” ideas to help America’s struggling middle class, focusing on job creation and the economy, as he attempts to shift the debate to what he deems as more substantive matters impacting the livelihood and long-term interests of tens of millions of families.
Speaking to members of the Organising for Action group, Obama said he will seek to remind the country, beginning with three scheduled speeches this week, that the American middle class remains imperilled by the lack of progress in Congress on his proposed job-creating measures and by Republican fiscal priorities.
"It's going to be the kickoff to what is essentially several months of us trying to get Washington and the press to refocus on the economy and the struggles that middle-class families are going through, but also for us to start exploring some big and bold ideas," Obama said of his upcoming speech at Knox College in Illinois, which the White House has promised will return his administration's message to economic issues.
Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, said in a statement Sunday that “the president thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country. Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles and trump up phony scandals.”
He added that Obama wants to “chart a course where America needs to go—not just in the next three months or even the next three years, but a steady, persistent effort over the long term.”
Adjusted for inflation, the median income of American households is nearly 5 percent lower than it was when economic recovery began in mid-2009. Even more surprising, it is nearly 8 percent lower than it was in 2000.
Five years after the economic meltdown, Obama said that the outlook had “changed for the better” and the “ground beneath our feet is a little firmer than it was, but we’ve got a long way to go before middle class families feel secure.”
"So many of the issues that we care about are more likely to progress if people feel good about their own lives and their economic situation," he added.