WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said Saturday Congress must act to move the American economy forward with a "middle-out" -- not a "top-down" -- approach.
There's much more work to do after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but with the unemployment rate at the lowest level since Obama took office, the nation as a whole is moving forward, Obama said.
"After losing about 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, our businesses have now added 5.2 million new jobs over the past two and a half years. And on Friday, we learned that the unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since I took office. More Americans are entering the workforce. More Americans are getting jobs," the president said.
"But too many of our friends and neighbors are still looking for work or struggling to pay the bills -- many of them since long before this crisis hit. We owe it to them to keep moving forward. We've come too far to turn back now. And we've made too much progress to return to the policies that got us into this mess in the first place."
Obama encouraged Americans to call Congress and tell them not to "delay, defund and dismantle" regulations on Wall Street and the big banks that have cracked down on the worst practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders.
He said Congress should act on his plan to keep taxes low for 98 percent of Americans, "rather than holding it hostage to give more budget-busting tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent."
He also called on Congress to act on his plan, put forward in February, to provide responsible homeowners with access to lower rates through refinancing, and to pass his plan for a veterans jobs corp.
"If we're going to keep this economy moving forward, there's no time for political games. Even in a political season. Everyone needs to do their part. If you agree with me, let your representative know where you stand. Tell them that if they want your vote, then they need to stand with you and not in the way of our recovery," the president said.