Commentary by Joe Biden
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.
President Obama and I are determined to change this. Quite simply, a strong middle class equals a strong America. We can't have one without the other.
An economy for all Americans
Right now, our most urgent task is to stabilize our nation's economy and put it back on track. That is what our economic recovery package moving through the Congress is all about. We need to make these critical investments to jump-start our economy.
On top of this urgent task, though, we have an important long-term task as well. Once this economy starts growing again, we need to make sure the benefits of that growth reach the people responsible for it. We can't stand by and watch as that narrow sliver of the top of the income scale wins a bigger piece of the pie — while everyone else gets a smaller and smaller slice.
One of the things that makes this task force distinctive is it brings together — in one place — those agencies that have the most impact on the well-being of the middle class in our country. We'll be looking at everything from access to college and training with the Department of Education, to business development with the Department of Commerce, to child care reform with Health and Human Services, to labor law with the Department of Labor. With this task force, we'll have a single, high-visibility group with one goal: to raise the living standards of middle-class families. Read the rest at USA TODAY