Obama takes a swipe at his own economic recovery
Finally, the president admits the truth. Yet he should go further and admit it is his POLICIES that's keeping the economy down!
President Obama speaks at Macomb Community College, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Warren, Mich. Obama announces new steps to expand apprenticeships and a push to make community college free for responsible students. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Obama takes a swipe at his own economic recovery
President Obama acknowledged Wednesday that the economic recovery has been mixed under his watch, but blamed corporate greed and the nation's tax system on flat wages, instead of his own policies.
"The unemployment rate is down but inequality is creeping back up … wages are still flat," Obama told a crowd during a speech at Macomb County Community College in Warren, Mich. "Now some of that has to do with companies making record profits aren't sharing their profits with workers … and in some cases our tax policies are incentivizing jobs moving overseas."
The president's comments came just two days after Vice President Joe Biden Monday also acknowledged that "something is wrong" with the U.S. economy during a speech in Pittsburgh before a Labor Day march.
"It used to be when productivity went up in America, everybody got to share," Biden said. "The people who caused the productivity increase, they got to share. They got a piece of the action. Something is wrong, folks."
Both comments acknowledge that many Americans are still suffering in the slow economic recovery during Obama's tenure even as the White House has tried to highlight economic progress. In his weekly address last week, the president cited the 173,000 jobs created in August and an unemployment rate that dropped to 5.1 percent, the lowest in five years.
But others point out that the August jobs numbers are nothing to crow about. During that month, the Labor Department said another 261,000 people permanently dropped out of the labor force.
"That's a net loss of 88,000 jobs, not an increase," according to the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation President Tom Giovanetti.
The labor force participation rate has been stuck for three months at its lowest rate since 1977, Giovanetti asserted. "That's not good news — that's a disaster," he said.
Even the president appeared to recognize that the uneven economic recovery is still vulnerable to the impact of international markets and China's slowdown, as well as congressional actions.
He urged Congress to pass a budget by its end-of-September deadline that helps the middle-class, and warned against allowing a government shutdown if Republicans and Democrats cannot reach a compromise.
"Some are even talking about shutting down the government at the end of the month," he said, referring to conservative Republicans in Congress. "Now is not the time to play games … you would pull the rug from right under the economy."
Obama, along with Dr. Jill Biden, were in Michigan as part of the administration's push to expand apprenticeships, reduce student loan debt and make two years of community college free for qualifying students.
Ahead of the event, the White House announced $175 million in new apprenticeship grants to be divvied up among 46 public-private partnerships that have pledged to take on 34,000 new apprentices in various industries, including healthcare and IT, over the next five years.
Obama referred to Dr. Biden as his "favorite community college instructor" and recalled how he nearly shed a tear when his daughter started her first day of her senior year recently.
"I didn't want to just be a crybaby," he said, explaining that he had to look away when Malia told him it was her last first day of high school. "Michelle and I are both too young to have children about to enter college."
He went on to tout the benefits of all secondary education, calling it the "secret sauce of America's success."
"Having a credential above and beyond your high school diploma is your sure ticket to the middle-class," he said. "That's why I believe that no kid should be priced out of a college education."
Dr. Biden, who introduced Obama before the speech, said she is proud of her job as a community college professor and thanked all the teachers in the audience.
"Education is my life's work," she said. "I was back in the classroom just two weeks ago … in fact, I was grading essays on the way here."
"From day one, we have made education a priority, from investing in early childhood education to ensuring more students graduate high school to making college more affordable. But we're not stopping there," she said.
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By Sarah Westwood
With a series of fiscal deadlines looming in the fall, the banking industry and Republican lawmakers are eyeing attaching controversial regulatory relief legislation to a government funding bill, similar to a move in December that raised the specter of a government shutdown.
Late last year, a banking deregulation provision tacked onto a must-pass government funding bill drew sustained outrage from Sen. Elizabeth Warren other critics of Wall Street, who rallied against the bill. This time, however, the potential conflict over such a move could be overshadowed by even more controversial votes.
Such votes could include riders on defunding Planned Parenthood or stopping the president's Iran deal. Both are possibilities that Republicans have debated in recent weeks and would be likely to overshadow changes to banking rules.
Four major banking trade groups sent a letter this week to the top members of the Senate Banking Committee saying that regulatory relief was "critical" and calling in particular for the passage of a reform package authored by the committee's chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby.