Excerpts from President Obama's speech in Osawatomie:
"This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and investments than ever before. But everyone else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks.
This kind of inequality -- a level we haven't seen since the Great Depression -- hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom. We need to extend a payroll tax cut that's set to expire at the end of this month. If we don't do that, 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up by an average of $1,000, and it would badly weaken our recovery.
Today, thanks to loopholes and shelters, a quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class families. It's been about building a nation where we're all better off. We pull together, we pitch in, and we do our part, believing that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; and that our children will inherit a nation where those values live on."