By: Ermira Babamusta, Ph.D./
On a special video message I received yesterday via email, President Obama recorded a personal message for his supporters prior to giving his Knox College speech on economy and education. He emphasized the idea of how working together is key to building a strong foundation for America. The President advocated for change coming from the bottom-up and not top-down.
A better-bargain for the middle class was the emphasis of President’s Obama’s speech he gave at Knox College, Illinois on July 24, 2013. The President laid out six priorities to rebuild the cornerstone of middle-class security.
Job Security with good wages: since the President took office, 7.2 million jobs have been added in the private sector in the past 40 months. He is pushing for job perspectives in renewable energy, infrastructure and manufacturing. He has also advocated for energy efficiency on federal buildings.
A good education: the President is focusing on making college more affordable and cutting interest rates on student loans. On bipartisan efforts, senators from both parties have come up with a plan to reduce interest rates of student loans. Because of this agreement 11 million borrowers will save money before the start of the new school year. The deal proposes the following cuts: undergrads from 6.8% to 3.85%, graduate students from 6.8% to 5.4%, plus loans from 7.9% to 6.4%.
A home to call your own: reducing rates for home mortgage owners. The president is working with both parties to build a housing finance system to strengthen home ownership.
A secure retirement: reforming the tax code to secure retirement for families.
Affordable healthcare for when you get sick: expanding access and lowering costs for families. The President is on his way on implementing the Affordable Care Act. This means security and coverage for middle class families and small business owners. As of January 1, new benefits and even better coverage will be available for those 85% who are already covered (free checkups, mammograms, etc). And for those who are uninsured, starting October 1, they will have opportunities to buy insurance packages right for them, regardless of preexisting conditions.
More opportunity and less inequality: Income inequality has been higher since the great depression. The last increase on minimum wage was in 2007 under President Bush. Raising the minimum wage will help strengthen the economy overall.
During the official policy briefing organized by Organizing for Action held yesterday, Wednesday, July 24, 2031, OFA emphasized the priorities the President laid out in his speech. The middle class – out approach not the top-down is where the President is focusing his energies for the remainder of his presidency. He called upon private sector and businesses to invest in the future and set an example by providing decent wages and good benefits to his employees.