President Obama traveled to Osawatomie, Kansas to deliver remarks on the economy where he invoked Theodore Roosevelt's populism and challenged the Republicans philosophy of trickle-down economics.
That’s a theory that speaks to our individualism, Obama said, "but here’s the problem, it doesn’t work. It has never worked."
He highlighted the 99% protests and agreed with the premise of the demonstrators: the richest 1% are obtaining more wealth than the rest of the American population.
"This kind of inequality – a level we haven’t seen since the Great Depression – hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom," he said.
The President promoted his economic priorities, including the extension and expansion of a payroll tax cut, which Congress has rejected.
Speaking to an enthusiastic audience, Obama said a strong economy starts with education, which he declared a "national mission."
The speech was billed as a "make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those working to join it," according to the White House. "We shall go up or down together," he said.