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The Evolution of President Obama’s Middle-Out Economics

President Obama

SOURCE: AP/Alan Diaz

President Barack Obama holds up a copy of his plan for jobs as he speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Delray Beach, Florida, Tuesday, October 23, 2012.

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The economic plan that President Barack Obama released yesterday—to create jobs and strengthen the middle class—reflects a full-throated embrace of an argument the president has been developing over the past year: Economic growth is driven by a strong middle class, not by the rich. The evolution of the president’s economic argument reflects a growing recognition in the economics profession of the importance of the middle class in producing economic growth—a recognition that Center for American Progress papers, conferences, and events were a key part of developing.

The president’s economic plan argues that “our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class,” and presents the dozens of concrete policy proposals for his second term as geared toward “building an economy from the middle out.” With this plan the president most concretely links his governing agenda to the theory of economic growth he has been developing over the past year, as the timeline below shows.

By connecting economic theory to policy, the president has laid out a platform that can guide not only his second term—if he is re-elected—but also the progressive movement in the years to come.

David Madland is the Director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Gadi Dechter is the Managing Director of Economic Policy at the Action Fund.

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