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Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Obama wants to revitalize middle class

By William Kincaid

President Barack Obama addresses a large crowd of students and others at Bowling. . .

BOWLING GREEN - The American people will decide which fundamentally different path the country will follow this election - a policy of top-down economics that has never worked or a rebuilding of the middle class.
That's what President Barack Obama told a crowd of more than 5,000 ardent supporters at the Bowling Green State University Stroh Center, where he articulated his vision of a helpful government and dismissed recent criticisms leveled against him during a campaign stop Wednesday afternoon.
"But their theory is, these tax cuts for the folks at the top, then prosperity and jobs will rain down on everybody else, the deficit will magically go away, and we will live happily ever after," Obama said about Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. "There's only one problem: We tried this during the last decade, during the previous presidency - it didn't work. Top-down economics never work."
Obama painted his Republican opponents as beholden to oil and health insurance companies and Wall Street elites. He also played on Romney's recent spin of his comment about not being able to change Washington from the inside.
"If he's talking about the inside job of letting oil companies write the energy policies and insurance companies writing health care policies and outsourcers rewriting our tax code, we don't need that," Obama said.
The country only succeeds when the middle class gets bigger, when more people have a chance to get ahead and live up to their God-given potential, the president said.
"Look, I don't believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives," Obama said, a jab at Romney's 47 percent comment said at a fundraiser about Americans who rely on government and don't pay taxes. "And I've got to tell you, as I travel around Ohio and as I look out at this crowd, I don't see a lot of victims. I see hardworking Ohioans."
Obama made it clear that he doesn't believe people are entitled to success in America, and later added that though government can't solve all of the nation's problems, it isn't the source of all those problems.
"We don't believe government should be helping people who refuse to help themselves," he said. "But we do believe in something called opportunity. We do believe that hard work should pay off. We do believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot."
Obama revisited his five-point economic revitalization and middle class expansion plan presented at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month. He believes it will create jobs, a million new manufacturing jobs during the next four years.
He said he wants the country to export more products and outsource fewer jobs by rewarding companies that open new plants in America, wants greater national control of energy, wants to improve access to education and training, and wants to reduce the debt by simplifying the tax code and increasing income tax rates on the wealthy.
"I want to reduce the deficit without sticking it to the middle class," Obama said about his plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion. "I want to simplify the tax code so that it's fair. But I also want to ask the wealthiest households to pay a higher rate on incomes over $250,000 - the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president."
Under Clinton, the economy created 23 million new jobs and the government had the largest surplus in history, Obama said.
"By the way, a whole lot of millionaires did really well too because that's how you grow an economy," Obama said. "I want to keep taxes low for the middle-class families and working families. But if we're going to close the deficit, we've got to ask folks like me to do a little bit more."
Obama said change is hard and requires more than one term. He claimed he's looking after the needs of all Americans, not just red states or blue states and said he still believes that Americans are not as divided as politics suggest.
"The values of hard work and personal responsibility, those values that we believe in don't just belong to workers or businesses, or the rich or the poor, the 53 percent or the 47 percent, the 1 percent or the 99 percent," Obama said. "Those are American values. They belong to all of us."
Obama also said he would maintain the strongest military the world has ever known and make sure the needs of returning service men and women are met.
"Four years ago I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did," he told the crowd. "I said we would responsibly wind down the war in Afghanistan, and we are ... meanwhile, al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead."
More so than his Republican opponents who also toured Ohio this week, Obama underscored the positive aspects of America today.
"Our problems can be solved, our challenges can be met," Obama said. "We've still got the best workers in the world. We've got the best businesses in the world. We've got the best scientists in the world and researchers. We definitely have the best colleges and universities in the world.
So especially for the young people out here, I want you to understand, there is not a country on Earth that wouldn't gladly trade places with the United States of America."
Additional online stories on this date
The Ohio Department of Education released partial state report cards to districts Wednesday after a month's delay.
The hold-up is due to a statewid [More]
SPRINGFIELD - An exhibit at the Springfield Museum of Art will highlight an Indian Lake ceramic artist and former New Bremen elementary teacher who achieved national acclaim but never abandoned his small-town roots. [More]
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