Obama, as he has repeatedly in recent days, urged Congress to enact legislation that would implement the so-called Buffett Rule, a principle calling for those at the very top of the income pyramid to pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as those in middle-class families.
In his weekly radio and Internet speech, Obama said it's "not just about fairness," but "is also about growth."
"It's about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs," Obama said. "And it's about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.
"In a perfect world, of course, none of us would have to pay any taxes. We'd have no deficits to pay down. And we'd have all the resources we needed to invest in things like schools and roads and a strong military and new sources of energy -- investments that have always bolstered our economy and strengthened the middle class.
"But we live in the real world, with real choices and real consequences. Right now, we've got significant deficits to close. We've got serious investments to make to keep our economy growing. And we can't afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans who don't need them and didn't even ask for them."
The Democratic president, who is seeking re-election this year, said most Americans support the idea of raising taxes on the wealthiest.
"We just need some Republican politicians to get on board with where the country is," he said.
Putin thinks Obama would save him if he were drowning
Rosie O'Donnell unveils nearly 50-pound weight loss