Washington: President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned of "growing inequality" in the US despite the fact that the country has left behind the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"(T)his growing inequality is not just morally wrong, it's bad economics," Obama said in a much-heralded speech at Knox University in Galesburg, Illinois.
Reversing that trend "has to be Washington's highest priority", he said. "It's certainly my highest priority."
"Unfortunately, over the past couple of years, in particular, Washington hasn't just ignored this problem, too often, Washington has made things worse," the president said, pointing to what he characterized as obstructionism by "a sizable group of Republican lawmakers".
"I care about one thing and one thing only, and that's how to use every minute - the only thing I care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1,276 days of my term - to make this country work for working Americans again," Obama said.
"And it may seem hard today, but if we're willing to take a few bold steps - if Washington will just shake off its complacency and set aside the kind of slash-and-burn partisanship that we've just seen for way too long - if we just make some common-sense decisions, our economy will be stronger a year from now," he said.
He noted that over the last 40 months US firms have created 7.2 million new jobs and that this year the growth in private sector employment is the strongest since 1999.