To the Editor,

Hello everybody ó

The basic bargain of this country says that if you work hard, you can get ahead ó you can build a secure life for your family, and know that your kids will do even better someday.

But for more than a decade, that bargain has frayed, and a devastating recession made it worse.

Over the past four and a half years, America has fought its way back, laying a new foundation for more durable economic growth. But many of the challenges that faced the middle class before the recession remain. And Washington has taken its eye off the ball.

Too many people in this town are focused on scoring political points or fanning phony scandals instead of finding ways to help grow our economy, create jobs, or roll back a 30-year trend of rising inequality.

Itís time for that to stop. Itís time for all of us to focus on our top priority as a country, and thatís reigniting the engine of our prosperity: a rising, thriving middle class.

Thatís what I just said while speaking at Knox College, back home in Illinois, where I kicked off a series of speeches on what truly matters to the middle class.

If building America from the middle out is an idea you share, I need you to stand with me. Add your voice to mine.

This has been my North Star for as long as Iíve been in office, and itís what will shape the time that I have left in the White House.

In the weeks ahead, in towns across the country, Iíll be talking about my ideas for building on the cornerstones of middle-class security: Good jobs with good wages. An education that prepares our children and our workers for a new economy. A home to call your own. Affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if youíre not rich. A better bargain for the middle class, and for all who are striving to join it.

This is the debate we need to have. And you can join me right now.

Let the country know that you believe that America works best not when it grows from the top down, but when it grows from the middle out:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/a-better-bargain/speak-out

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Washington, D.C.