Last week, President Obama traveled to the small town of Osawatomie, Kansas, where President Teddy Roosevelt once called for building an America where everyone gets a fair chance, a square deal, and an equal opportunity to succeed.
One hundred years later, we are again at a make or break moment for the middle class. At stake is a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.
Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people – especially in rural America.
The economic circumstances we experienced in 2008 caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs and their homes and many are still fighting to recover. While we have now seen 21 straight months of private sector job growth, we must continue to build on this progress by putting more Americans back to work.
To do so, we’ll have to remember a lesson that folks in rural communities know well: in America, we are greater together – when everyone engages in fair play, everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope that folks and Washington can do their best to remember that value.
Members of Congress will have the opportunity to keep their pledges and extend the payroll tax cut for hard working Americans. They can make sure that folks on Wall Street play by the same rules as Main Street. They can invest in education to give everybody a chance to succeed. A tax code that makes sure everybody pays their fair share.
Folks in rural communities know that we have a stake in each other’s success. President Obama and I want the rest of the nation to embrace that principle to rebuild our economy and grow our middle class again.