Obama proposes ‘grand bargain’ for middle-class jobs


President Barack Obama gave a speech at an Amazon Inc. distribution warehouse in Chattanooga, Tenn., today in which he unveiled a plan to boost the creation of middle-class jobs.

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The president laid the blame for disappearing middle class jobs squarely at the feet of Republicans in Congress.

“Even before the financial crisis hit, we were going through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder just to get by,” he said. “Reversing that trend should be Washington’s highest priority. It’s my highest priority. But so far this year we’ve seen an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals."

Obama said he was offering "a grand bargain for middle class jobs...something that serious people in both parties should be able to support."

The president's deal: Cut the corporate tax rate of 35 percent to 28 percent for most companies and 25 percent for manufacturers. Introduce a minimum tax on foreign earnings. Then use revenue generated by the business tax changes to fund infrastructure projects, improve community colleges and promote manufacturing.

Obama gave no specific figures on how much money would be directed towards jobs creation, but in his State of the Union speech in February, the president called for $50 billion to be invested in road repair and other infrastructure projects.

Aides said the announcement is just the first of several new ideas Obama will introduce before budget negotiations begin this fall, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Obama challenged GOP lawmakers to offer up better ideas for creating middle class jobs with good wages in durable industries if they had them. “But I’ve got to tell you," he said, "just gutting our environmental protection – that’s not a jobs plan. Gutting investments in education – that’s not a jobs plan....Wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare is not a jobs plan.”

While Obama’s “grand bargain” is designed to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats, GOP officials were already criticizing it on Tuesday morning.

“After offering us two things he knows we oppose, the president is asking for additional stimulus spending which, as you know, we also oppose,” Brendan Buck, press secretary for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), told the LA Times. “So the president is taking his idea of tax reform, making it worse, and then demanding ransom of more stimulus spending to get it.”

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