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Obama To Lay Out Economic-Bolstering Agenda

WASHINGTON, (UPI) –  President Obama will lay out a U.S. economic-bolstering agenda in a series of speeches ahead of expected fiscal battles with the House, the White House said.

The first campaign-style speech will be a major address on economic policy at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Wednesday, the White House said.

Officials didn’t give details but said Obama would “make clear that since Day One [he] has had one clear economic philosophy: The American economy works best when it grows from the middle-out, not the top-down,” presidential senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said in a mass email to the press Sunday evening.

The speech — at a college where Obama spoke in his first major address on economic issues as a senator in 2005 — will reaffirm themes including the need for a prosperous middle class, Pfeiffer said.

“The president thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball,” Pfeiffer said. “Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, re-fight old battles and trump up phony scandals.”

In a series of smaller speeches after Wednesday’s, Obama is expected to “touch on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America — job security, a good education, a home to call your own, affordable healthcare when you get sick, and the chance to save for a secure, dignified retirement,” Pfeiffer’s email said.

The follow-up speeches “will include new ideas and new pushes for ideas he has discussed before,” Pfeiffer said.

“They’ll outline steps Congress can take, steps he’ll take on his own and steps the private sector can take that benefit us all,” he said.

September will mark the fifth anniversary of what’s considered by many economists to have been the start of the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession.

That’s the month financial-services giant Lehman Brothers, with $691 billion in assets, declared bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch failed and was bought by Bank of America and insurance giant AIG got an $85 billion bridge loan from the Federal Reserve to keep it from collapsing.

In addition, Washington Mutual Bank collapsed that month, in the biggest bank failure in history, before JP Morgan Chase bought WaMu’s banking assets.

Eighty-one U.S. public corporations filed for bankruptcy by mid-September, more than the 78 for all of 2007.

Venture-capital funding dropped dramatically, leading to rising unemployment and slowed job creation.

Obama plans in his addresses to take stock of the economy’s recovery and chart a path forward, the White House said.

“He’ll talk about the progress we’ve made together, the challenges that remain, and the path forward,” Pfeiffer said.

He will also make the case for the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform, The New York Times reported. That legislation passed the Senate but was rejected by the House. New House legislation is not a high priority, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday.

Obama expects to encounter resistance in the fall from the Republican-controlled House over the federal budget and the debt ceiling, Pfeiffer said.

“In a couple of months, we will face some more critical budget deadlines that require congressional action, not showdowns that only serve to harm families and businesses — and the president wants to talk about the issues that should be at the core of that debate,” Pfeiffer said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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