After President Obama gave his statement on the decrease in unemployment, he once again called for the wealthy to pay their fair share.
The president said,
Let me begin by saying a few words about the latest economic news. This morning, we learned that American businesses added another 212,000 jobs last month. Altogether, more private sector jobs were created in 2011 than any year since 2005. And there are a lot of people that are still — (applause) — there are a lot of people that are still hurting out there. After losing more than 8 million jobs in the recession, obviously we have a lot more work to do. But it is important for the American people to recognize that we’ve now added 3.2 million new private sector jobs over the last 22 months — nearly 2 million jobs last year alone. So after shedding jobs for more than a decade, our manufacturing sector is also adding jobs two years in a row now. So we’re making progress. We’re moving in the right direction.
And one of the reasons for this is the tax cut for working Americans that we put in place last year. And when Congress returns, they should extend the middle-class tax cut for all of this year, to make sure that we keep this recovery going. It’s the right thing to do. There should not be delay. There should not be a lot of drama. We should get it done.
And the American people I think rightly understand that there are still a lot of struggles that people are going through out there. A lot of families are still having a tough time. A lot of small businesses are still having a tough time. But we’re starting to rebound. We’re moving in the right direction. We have made real progress. Now is not the time to stop. So I would urge Congress to make sure that they stay on top of their jobs to make sure that everybody else is able to enjoy hopefully an even more robust recovery in 2012.
So the economy is moving in the right direction. We’re creating jobs on a consistent basis. We’re not going to let up — not until everybody who wants to find a good job can find one. But we have a responsibility to do even more than just try to recover from this devastating recession and financial crisis. We have a responsibility to make sure that the economy that we’re rebuilding is one where middle-class families feel like they can get ahead again. A lot of the problems that we’re dealing with are problems that existed even before the recession, even before the financial crisis. For a decade or more, middle-class families felt like they were treading water, that they were losing ground.
And what we want to do is make sure not just that we’re getting back to the status quo, we want to make sure that we’re dealing with those underlining problems — getting to a point where middle-class families feel like they can get ahead again. Where hard work pays off again. Where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.
See what Obama did there? He used the positive jobs numbers to once again call for a leveling of the playing field. The Obama message has become a consistent drumbeat of defending the middle class every single day. President Obama is being allowed to define himself as the one leader in Washington, D.C. who cares about and is fighting for the middle class.
Most news outlets focused on Obama’s call for a yearlong payroll tax cut extension, but the most interesting part of his statement was his continued emphasis on raising taxes on the wealthy. The White House has successfully defined this issue as one of fairness. In their view raising taxes on those who make the most, but pay the least is about correcting an imbalance that goes against the fundamental American belief that hard work should be rewarded.
The president is pitching a tax hike on the rich as a way to return balance to a tax system that has become too tilted towards the few at the expense of the many. Obama has turned this issue into a nightmare for the Republican Party. When they defend and refuse to raise taxes on the rich, Republicans alienate themselves from the rest of the country.
Obama holds a winning hand on raising taxes on the wealthy, and he won’t be laying his cards on the table until the rich pay their fair share.