President Barack Obama said Sunday that the United States could not “have a strong, growing economy without a strong, growing middle class and without a strong labor movement,” and he called on Republican in Congress to get behind legislation to create jobs.
In a Labor Day speech before a heavily union audience in Detroit, the president said that the middle class had lost ground over the past decade but that his administration was working to level the economic playing field.
“We’re fighting for good jobs with good wages,” the president said. “We’re fighting for health care when you get sick. We’re fighting for a secure retirement even if you’re not rich. We’re fighting for the chance to give our kids a better life than we had. That’s what we’re doing to restore middle-class security and rebuild this economy the American way — based on balance and fairness and the same set of rules for everybody from Wall Street to Main Street.”
The president hinted at what he would lay out Thursday in his jobs agenda. “I’m going to propose ways to put America back to work that both parties can agree to, because I still believe both parties can work together to solve our problems,” he said.
President Obama acknowledged that Republicans have not supported federal action to create jobs but suggested the crisis of unemployment would bring out enough GOP votes to move forward.
“We’re going to see if we’ve got some straight shooters in Congress,” he said. “We’re going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party. We’ll give them a plan, and then we’ll say, do you want to create jobs? Then put our construction workers back to work rebuilding America. Do you want to help our companies succeed? Open up new markets for them to sell their products.”
The president challenged Republicans to give regular Americans a tax break. “You say you’re the party of tax cuts? Well then, prove you’ll fight just as hard for tax cuts for middle-class families as you do for oil companies and the most affluent Americans,” he said. “Show us what you got.”