STATEMENT: CAP’s Michael Ettlinger on the State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C. — In reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, Michael Ettlinger, Vice President of Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

The key economic message in this speech was the president’s forceful embrace of the increasingly adopted view among economists that a strong middle class—not high-income investors or ultra-low taxes—is the key engine of growth and prosperity.

The president tonight delivered his fullest expression yet of the “middle-out economics” approach to economic policymaking, which correctly understands that a strong middle class is critical to most of the key levers that propel an economy forward—worker skills, financial stability, risk taking among entrepreneurs, innovation, and economic demand.

We were gratified to hear the president propose policies to grow an economy that works for all Americans through high-return public investments that create middle-class jobs and furnish workers with skills and education. And raising the minimum wage is a measure that demonstrates a commitment to the principle that those who work hard and play by the rules deserve a decent hour’s pay for a hard hour’s work. It is through measures such as this that low-income workers can move off the economic sidelines and be full contributors to a thriving, growing, American economy.

To speak with an expert on this topic, contact Katie Peters at kpeters@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6285.

Please visit CAP’s middle-class project for more information on how a strong middle class is the key driver of economic growth.

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