Politics

Obama Offers 2016 Voters An Economic Security Blanket

Neil Munro White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama is pitching an economic security blanket to the 2016 voters whose economic futures have been frozen by Obama’s own economic policies.

Obama outlined his “middle class economics” pitch on Wednesday to an Ohio audience, where he offered a taxpayer-funded security blanket to families worried about flat wages and rising education and medical costs.

“Middle class economics,” he said in a campaign-style event, “means helping working families feel more secure in an ever-changing economy.”

He used the event to slam the budget plans offered by Republicans in the House and Senate.

“Their budget doles out even more to those who already have the most; makes massive cuts to investments that benefit all of us; asks middle-class families to foot the bill. … Millionaires and billionaires would get an average tax cut of more than $50,000 per year … would take home about as much in tax cuts as the average middle-class American makes in an entire year,” he said in the first of several scheduled events.

“My budget makes new investments to make it easier for folks to afford child care and college and health care and paid leave and retirement — lowering the taxes of working families, putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year,” he declared to a friendly audience.

Polls show that most Americans feel the economy has stalled, despite slow improvements, and many are worried about their future.

Americans’ wages have stalled throughout Obama’s tenure, and since at least 2000, ending the nation’s history of near-constant economic gains for lower and mid-income Americans. The median household income in January 2015 was $54,332, which is 3.9 percent lower than January 2000, 15 years prior, according to a March 4 report by Sentier Research. The median is the mid-point in the income scale. Half of the people earned above the number, and half earned below that number.

Obama recognized the flat wages, but claimed to offer a government remedy without actually promising higher wages. “Folks who are working hard see their incomes, their wages, their financial security erode. … Middle-class economics means preparing Americans to earn higher wages down the road [via] new investments from pre-K to mid-career job training,” he said.

Obama spent much of his speech touting the nation’s slow recovery from the real-estate bubble that he championed when he was a politician in Chicago.

But the second half of his speech was an extended criticism of the GOP budget plans. He said they favor the rich at the expense of worried middle-class voter, and he portrayed Republicans as offering risks — not security — to middle-class voters.

“Just as more working families are finally beginning to feel some hard-fought stability and security in their lives, the Republican budget would strip health insurance for millions of Americans … [which would] try once again to gut the guarantee at the center of Medicare by turning it into a voucher program,” he said.

Obama, didn’t discuss his role in damaging the economy. Before the 2008 crash, for example, he allied with business groups to support the government mortgage regulations that fueled the disastrous property bubble.

Even now, he’s pushing to raise the inflow of foreign workers that compete against American workers. Since 2009, roughly 9 million foreign workers have entered the U.S. economy, alongside 24 million young Americans.

The business-backed inflow has reduced the proportion of working-age Americans in the workforce since 2010. In November 2014, one in every five U.S. jobs was held by a foreign-born worker, up from one-in-six jobs in January 2010, according to federal data highlighted by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Immigration “is good for the economy. … But I understand some folks won’t agree with me,” claimed Obama, who has admitted already that mass immigration has hurt Americans’ wages. In various speeches, Obama has justified his support of even more migration with ideological, partisan and political reasons.

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