[Excerpt] The White House Task Force on the Middle Class, chaired by Vice President Joe Biden, was created by President Obama a little more than one year ago, shortly after the Administration took office. The mission of the Task Force, as stated in the Executive Order that created it, is to work with our member agencies and councils to ensure that the economic challenges facing the American middle class, challenges that predate the recession that was deepening as the Task Force was formed, always remain front and center in the work of the Administration.
Over the past year, this has been our singular focus. Of course, in the context of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the Administration’s first priority for the middle class has been restoring job growth by stabilizing an economy that was in freefall. This economic contraction has dealt a serious blow to middle-class families, with staggering losses to their jobs, their savings, and the value of their homes. The Vice President, in his role as the Administration’s chief overseer of the Recovery Act, has played a critical role in this central part of our economic agenda. And of course, the President’s health care reform agenda targets one of the most important—and too often most precarious—aspects of middle-class life.
But at the same time, the Task Force has worked to address some of the longer term challenges facing the middle class: balancing work and family responsibilities, college access and affordability, and retirement security. And while restarting the engine of job creation is the Administration’s highest priority, the Task Force is working to ensure that the jobs that are created as the economy begins to recover are good jobs.
This report details our activities in pursuing policy solutions to these challenges over the past year. The report also highlights some of the key Administration initiatives supported by the Task Force, many of which are part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget.