January 30, 2009

VP Biden: Time to put the middle class first

Posted: 08:31 AM ET

by Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States

For years, we had a White House that failed to put the middle class front and center in its economic policies.

President Obama has made it clear that is going to change. And it's why he has asked me to lead a task force on the middle class.

America's middle class is hurting. Trillions of dollars in home equity, retirement savings and college savings are gone. And every day, more and more Americans are losing their jobs.

For the backbone of the USA, it's insult on top of injury. Over the course of America's last economic expansion, the middle class participated in very few of the benefits. But now in the midst of this historic economic downturn, the middle class sure is participating in all of the pain. Something is seriously wrong when the economic engine of this nation — the great middle class — is treated this way.

(Read More of the VP's commentary HERE)

Filed under: Economy • Vice President Biden

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Michael C. McHugh   January 30th, 2009 9:02 am ET

No President in US history has ever reached out to the opposition party as much as Barack Obama. I am not surprised that the Republicans voted in a block against him. I believe they will continue to do so no matter what he proposes.

I would go even further. Many of the gentlemen from the South in Congress would would rather be abducted by aliens rather than work with President Obama. I expected this all along, and that's fine if they want to continue being the party of the 19th Century.

They think that by voting in a bloc against Obama they will be able to win the elections in 2010 and 2012, but reform eras like the one we're in don't usually end that quickly. I actually hope that Obama keeps reaching out to the Republicans and they unite in opposing whatever he wants. From our point of view, it can only be beneficial in the next election, and the next.

Vanessa   January 30th, 2009 9:27 am ET

After hearing about the bonuses that were given to the CES's and what-have-you of the banks after the bailout, I'm appalled. These entities are directly responsible for the financial problems of this country. Case in point: I went to school, trying to better my families life. The loans only totalled $7K, but, after paying on this for almost 20 years, that loan has ballooned to almost $20K. I've had to request forbearances to cope with the rising cost. The original bank sold it to another bank. THAT bank then charged interest on the interest and then sold the loan to yet ANOTHER bank, which did the same thing. This loan can be taken out on my social security/retirement payments, and I'm afraid to open a bank account for fear they'll take the money. I have been unemployed for a year now. This IS NOT FAIR!!! Who is going to bail me out?!

Lisa   January 30th, 2009 11:53 am ET

Micheal – What part of the so called stimulus package should the republicans supported?

The billions going to birth control?
The billions going to STD's?
The billions going to arts?
The billions going to landscaping?
Or the billions going to states who don't know what a budget is?

If Obama truly wanted to work with the republicans he would have asked for their imput and truly examined it. It is all for show on his side. Just like him freezing the salaries for a year on white house staff making over 100K a year. Duh... they are all new to the job what did they expect a raise on their second day? If he truly wanted a difference he would have froze the salaries of congress. But no, they, in the middle of this mess, are aloud to, and did, give themselves raises.

This whole stimulus is a joke. Obvously throwing money at our problems doesn't work. All we are creating is a bigger mess for future generations.

hugh ~ california   January 30th, 2009 12:16 pm ET

The rich and powerful corporate elite would not exist without the middle class, yet wallstreet rewarded its own failures with over $800 million in bonuses for 2008. Talk about getting slapped in the face; these greedy arrogant executives must think we exist only to serve them.
The time has come for the middle class to demand that Washington pass new legislation that will freeze all future bonuses for at least fiscal year 2009. Then, sieze assets from those companies who refuse to comply with this law, and add prison sentences to the executives who thumb their noses at the government and to the very people who bailed them out for their arrogance and incompetence.

Terry   January 30th, 2009 3:52 pm ET

Since when does Biden write commentaries for USA it what it was his speech today and now Larry King. This is really some orchestrated propaganda.

Middle Class Force...just something to keep him busy....I thought the Pelosi Job Stimulus Pakage was going to create all these jobs for the middle class.

Listening & reading it's just social program issues....labor unions gave him the largest applause. Again I do not have a problem with social programs......but can we put them on the back burner for this June.

John Hanley   January 30th, 2009 4:28 pm ET

While I voted Republican last election, I am not ready to brand President Obama's efforts as merely for show. The Republican members in Congress need to cut the BS and work with President Obama for the good of all. I am not saying to accept every program offered without question but we all need to work together in order to get through the difficulties at hand. I'm tired of people in power taking actions that are intended simply to help them regain or keep the power they already have or had. As for the Executives who awarded themselves and their cronies the millions/billions in bonuses after taking public money we can ill afford, they are criminals and should be treated as such. Anyone who accepted public money to keep their business afloat and then passed out bonuses to the powerful among them should have the money taken back from their bank accounts and they should spend a good number of years in prison. Enough is enough. I fear such people are going to destroy the nation that I was so fortunate to have been born into and shudder to think what kind of place my grandchildren are going to be forced to grow up into.

Debbie   January 30th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

The rich fat cats spending the bail out money are thiefs and any robber should go to jail. The republicans yell socialism when the middle and poor class need money but those rich CEO's are a bail out to republicans. The rich will go out and buy million dollar properties and luxury liners and throw cocktail parties while the middle class will go out and buy clothes for their families and items for their homes, that is the big difference. We the working people put back into the economy while the rich put us in more debt! Rush , well he is too silly and if republicans are listening to him then they should not question why they lost!

harry from me   January 30th, 2009 7:43 pm ET

they are always together Obama & Biden..makes me proud ..think they should cut their salaries also & everyone who works in the white house AND congress !!...and I'm not kidding..start at the TOP !!...Bush & Cheney would never have done that..some day they will realize money & material things do NOT bring happiness...I do not envy way....

Debbie   January 30th, 2009 8:08 pm ET

President Obama said the right words to those republicans"I WON", good for him , maybe some of them will hear it. If the President was joking or not it needed to be said, They are acting like spoiled children determining to show our President they will buck him on everything, and to think the rest wanted Mccain. This should show you want we would of got, Rich getting richer while the middle class and poor suffer. It is so insane to watch how they behave, you have to remind yourself these are grown men. Republicans do not quit tell you whe they say when they want more tax cuts, they mean for the rich , they just do not finish their sentence.

Debbie   January 30th, 2009 9:25 pm ET

Well we could of elected McCain and Palin, now there is a team that should scare the heck out of you. We could of continued to give the rich more money and take from the workers so they would lose their homes and jobs while the wealthy under the republican watch just keep getting richer and plunging our economy deeper into debt, yea that is why we elected Obama, we HAVE a chance to get out of this hole. All those republicans are acting like that because they had 8 years of no one controlling how or where money went . If republicans have such great ideas about the bail out for the middle class why haven't they done anything in 8 years, it sounds more like smoke blowing than ideas. They had 8 years to help people now let someone help that really cares!

Ray Gleaton   January 30th, 2009 10:28 pm ET

If you truly want to help the middle class, Stop right now all monies to the banking elite and start funding contruction projects in the slums and decayed inner cities. Hire contractors who will hire working class people, who will order wood steel and building products. If the banks are stuffed full of money and the American worker doesn't have a job what good did it do to save the banks. Car companies that are given loans to build more efficient cars will still be in trouble if we still can't buy them. You have to fix the American consumer before you fix what he consumes. JOBS Jobs Jobs it is not hard for anyone to see the real problem. It is hard for people that rule from an Ivory tower to see what the people really need.

Lisa   January 31st, 2009 2:54 am ET


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