Country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot: Obama

Washington: President Barack Obama defended Tuesday his economic policy in a speech noting that the US middle class is facing "a make or break moment".

Speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, the town where 101 years ago Republican icon Theodore Roosevelt made his famous call for social justice, the Democratic president delivered the same message.

"I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules," Obama said. "Those aren't Democratic or Republican values; 1 percent values or 99 percent values. They're American values, and we have to reclaim them."

Before an audience that constantly interrupted him with applause, the president outlined the pillars of his economic policy, which he defended as logical as opposed to some proposals by the Republican opposition that have "never worked".

"But this isn't just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," the president said.

He called for an increase in taxes on the richest and an extension of tax cuts for the middle class.

He also defended the regulatory measures imposed by his government on the financial sector and the need to invest in education.

In a reference to the great emerging power, China, he said "(W)e'll never be able to compete with other countries when it comes to who's best at letting their businesses pay the lowest wages or pollute as much as they want. That's a race to the bottom that we can't win – and shouldn't want to win."

"The race we want to win – the race we can win – is a race to the top; the race for good jobs that pay well and offer middle-class security," Obama said.

Obama attacked Republicans saying that their platform is simple: we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. "Well, I'm here to say they are wrong."

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