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Press Release: NETWORK’s Response to Pres. Obama’s Speech on the Economy

FOR RELEASE: July 25, 2013                                                                              

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,

Washington, DC: NETWORK today released the following statement about President Obama’s speech on the economy, delivered on July 24 at Knox College:

NETWORK has always advocated for economic justice, and the speech President Obama gave yesterday gives us hope that our nation will once more move toward that goal. The last few years have been difficult, with much talk of “austerity” and “smaller government” as ways to solve our economic woes. Notice that “poverty” and “wealth gap” have not drawn equal attention.

As the president said yesterday, “opportunities for upward mobility in America have gotten harder to find over the past 30 years.” We want to believe that working hard will lead to success because that is a bedrock American value. However, tax laws and other policies favoring the rich have done much to increase the wealth of the top one percent in our nation while wages of the vast majority of workers have stagnated or fallen.

President Obama was exactly right when he said that “this growing inequality is not just morally wrong, it’s bad economics.” It also does not reflect true American values.

We need long-term goals for a strong economy, not just short-term budget cuts. Those goals should focus on justice for all Americans, with fair wages and tax policies, job growth, and concrete steps to address unequal opportunity. Government investment in infrastructure and education are just two of his proposals that will help.

But this will only happen if the American people demand that our elected officials move beyond partisan interests and instead govern for the good of our entire nation.

The president stated that repealing his health plan and slashing government spending are not an economic plan, but “if we’re willing to take a few bold steps -- if Washington will just shake off its complacency and set aside the kind of slash-and-burn partisanship that we’ve just seen for way too long -- if we just make some common-sense decisions, our economy will be stronger a year from now.”

He is right, and the time to begin is now.