The New York Times | August 21, 2013
On July 24, President Obama returned to Galesburg, Ill., to reiterate a promise he made in 2005 as a freshman Senator: to create new opportunities for the nation’s beleaguered middle class.
I’m here to tell you today that we’re not there yet. We all know that. We’re not there yet. We’ve got more work to do. Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent. The average C.E.O. has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. And companies continue to hold back on hiring those who’ve been out of work for some time.
We all wish him luck, but he is battling long odds.
Cesar Suarez, Galesburg’s director of economic development, puts the best face on Galesburg’s five-decade-long downward trajectory. “Given the two challenges, the Great Recession and globalization, we have been doing pretty well,” Suarez told me in a phone interview. The city’s population has continued to fall, although less sharply than in the past. “Relatively speaking, that’s good,” Suarez said. “But it is a loss.”