* Obama: middle class getting left behind in America
* Says Republicans "not getting the message" on jobs
By Alister Bull
WASHINGTON, Oct 29 President Barack Obama,
seizing on a report that showed America's rich getting richer
while the rest of the country struggled to get ahead, said on
Saturday that Republicans were thwarting a fairer approach.
"Republicans in Congress aren't paying attention. They're
not getting the message," the president said in his weekly
radio and Internet address.
Obama, a Democrat, has tried to tap anger at the
super-rich, which has sparked Occupy Wall Street protests
nationwide, to push congressional Republicans to pass his $447
billion jobs bill.
Republicans oppose his jobs bill because it is funded by
raising taxes on Americans earning more than $1 million a year,
which they say would hurt, not help, employment creation.
The president, who must convince voters he has a better
plan to cut the 9.1 percent unemployment rate than Republicans
when he fights for re-election next year, has also been using
the executive powers of his office to roll out smaller job
initiatives all week to show he is striving to spur growth.
Citing a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget
Office this week, which found incomes of the wealthiest 1
percent of Americans tripled between 1979 and 2007, Obama said
most Americans agreed with his take on the problem.
"In this country, we don't begrudge anyone wealth or
success -- we encourage it. We celebrate it. But America is
better off when everyone has had the chance to get ahead -- not
just those at the top of the income scale," he said.
Obama, trying to paint Republicans as the party of the
rich, was hammering home a message likely to be key in his
campaign to retain the White House next year.
'REPUBLICANS HAVE A JOB PLAN'
His opponents say the president is deliberately ignoring
proposals to spur hiring that they have put before Congress in
order to score political points as he eyes the 2012 election.
"Politics and pessimism won't get America back on track,"
said Representative Bobby Schilling of Illinois in the
Republican weekly address. "Republicans have a jobs plan, one
with some bipartisan support, but it's stuck in the Senate," he
That was a reference to 15 job measures passed by the
Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives that have
not advanced in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The White
House says none would lift growth in the short run.
Estimates by private St. Louis-based research firm
Macroeconomic Advisers found the Republican measures would
mainly benefit the economy in the longer run by changing the
incentives of people to work and invest.
Macroeconomic Advisers reckons Obama's jobs bill, if
enacted in full, would raise U.S. economic output by slightly
more than 1 percentage point in 2012 and create 1.3 million