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Obama: Reversing income gap is 'highest priority'

Aug. 3, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday the nation's highest priority is reversing a trend "where a few at the top" prosper while most families struggle.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president repeated much of what he said this week in a speech in Chattanooga, Tenn., when he proposed corporate tax rate cuts and increased spending to promote job growth.

He noted the economy has created 7.3 million new jobs during his administration, the United States sells more made-in-America products overseas than ever before, the rate of increase in healthcare costs is slowing and the federal deficit is coming down faster than at any time in the past six decades.

"But as any middle-class family will tell you, we're not where we need to be yet," Obama said. "Even before the crisis hit, we were living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, while most families were working harder and harder just to get by.

"Reversing this trend must be Washington's highest priority," the president said. "It's certainly mine."

He once again blamed "an endless parade of political posturing and phony scandals" in Washington for holding back the economic recovery.

"What we're lacking is action from Washington," Obama said. "And that's why, in addition to proposing ideas that we know will grow our economy, I've also put forward a strategy for breaking through the Washington logjam -- a 'grand bargain' for the middle class."

The president said he is "willing to work with Republicans" in Congress but said the GOP is focused instead on "gutting critical investments in our future and threatening national default on the bills that Congress has already racked up -- that's not an economic plan."

"Denying healthcare to millions of Americans, or shutting down the government just because I'm for keeping it open -- that won't help the middle class."

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