PRESIDENT OBAMA: We know that peopleâ€™s frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles. Their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles, to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for retirement. Itâ€™s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them. And itâ€™s rooted in the fear that their kids wonâ€™t be better off than they were.
They may not follow the constant back-and-forth in Washington or all the policy details, but they experience, in a very personal way, the relentless decades long trend that I want to spend some time talking about today, and that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class Americaâ€™s basic bargain that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: making sure our economy works for every working American. Thatâ€™s why I ran for president. It was the center of last yearâ€™s campaign. It drives everything I do in this office.