But that's not enough because we’ve also got to create even more good, middle-class jobs, and we’ve go to do it even faster. 

 

Corporate profits have skyrocketed at an all-time high. Now we’ve got to make sure that middle-class wages and incomes are going up too -– because families all across America haven’t seen their take-home pay rise for nearly a decade.  That's the next phase.  It’s good that companies are profitable.  I want you to be profitable.  I want you to be taking a little more home in your paycheck.  (Applause.)

 

Our housing market is healing.  But that's not enough.  Now we’ve got to help more families stay in their homes, or refinance to take advantage of these historically low interest rates. 

 

Our deficits are shrinking at the fastest rate in decades.  That's the truth.  That's worth an applause, sure.  (Applause.)  Because you wouldn’t always know that listening to folks in Washington.  But the fact is our deficits are going down faster than they have gone down in decades.  But we still have to create a budget that is smart and doesn’t hurt middle-class families or harm our critical investments into our future. 

 

Barbara Mikulski is on the Appropriations Committee; she’s fighting hard to make sure that this sequester that is slowing down growth, and we’re starting to see growth slowing down because of furloughs and cuts in defense spending, and a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t well thought through -- we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got a budget that doesn't push our economy back down.  We need a budget that pushes our economy back up.

 

The American auto industry is thriving.  American energy is booming.  American ingenuity in our tech sector has the potential to change the way we do almost everything. 

 

And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we’ve been able to clear away the rubble of the crisis.  We’re now poised for progress, but our work is not done, and our focus cannot drift.  We’ve got to stay focused on our economy, and putting people back to work, and raising wages, and bringing manufacturing back to the United States of America.  That has to be what we’re thinking about every single day.  (Applause.)

 

The middle class has taken a beating for more than a decade.  You deserve folks in Washington who are willing to fight back on your behalf every single day.  Because every single day, you and Americans like you all across the country are working hard and living up to your responsibilities.  So you’ve got to have the same seriousness of purpose in your leaders. 

 

Now, I see three areas where we need to focus if we’re really going to keep the recovery going but take it to new heights.  Number one, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Number two, we’ve got to make sure that workers are able to get the education and skills they need to do those jobs.  Number three, we’ve got to make sure that, if and when you’re working hard, that that leads to a decent living.

 

And that’s why I wanted to come to Baltimore -- because a lot of people here in Baltimore, they work hard.  Baltimore has gone through tough times in the past, but Baltimore has come bouncing back.  (Applause.)