Market Watch -- (Washington) A somber President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to consider steps to reduce income inequality in America, saying that it is leading to corrosive cynicism and mistrust.
In a speech in one of Washington’s most distressed neighborhoods, Obama said that Congress should end the “stale” debate over the size of the federal government and adopt an agenda to strengthen the middle class and build “ladders of opportunity” for the poor.
“The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed,’” the president said.
Obama said he knew that his ideas would not get though Congress “this year, next year or in the next five years” but said a serious debate on the issues would still be beneficial.
He said his door was open to Republican suggestions on how to build the middle class, but challenged them to do more than criticize his ideas.
Republicans need to say “what you are for, not what you are against,” Obama said.
Wages and salaries are growing very slowly in this recovery. Recent data show that income growth is less than half a typical recovery. According to Sentier Research, the median annual household income of $52,529 is up 3.1% from August 2011, the low point of their series, but down 5.7% from Dec. 2007, the beginning of the Great Recession.
Obama said he was making a practical and not a moral argument. He said that the income trends were bad for the economy long-term.
Obama rejected the idea than an unfettered free market was the answer to income inequality.
“We can make a difference on this. In fact, that is our generation’s task, to rebuild American’s economic and civic foundation to continue the expansion of opportunity for this generation and the next generation,” Obama said.
Obama backed several initiatives to combat income inequality, including raising the federal minimum wage which is at $7.25 an hour.
He also called for simplifying the corporate-tax code and a new trade agenda to boost U.S. exports.
He also said Congress should unwind the across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, “that haven’t made a lot of sense.”
The president hinted that he would be making an announcement soon with CEOs of large U.S. businesses on new steps to help the long-term unemployed.
Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office said that Obama was trying to talk down “his economy.”
“The American Dream is certainly more in doubt than in decades, but after more than five years in office, the president has no one to blame but himself,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck in an emailed statement.
Blog author's comments - Obama talks about 'inequality' and the economy but does nothing to help the economy which may assist those who he feels are victims of inequality. A major reason he is now talking about it is an attempt to have the mainstream media change the subject from what a disaster Obamacare is.
Obama wants to continue to grow big government and redistribute the wealth of those who have worked and educated themselves. There will eventually be more people receiving assistance than taxpayers. So who is going to continue to pay for those who refuse any attempt at taking care of themselves? Obama is fine with the government caring for them.
Whenever Obama talks about the poor economy it is always the fault of the Republican Party. If Obama pushes to increase the minimum wage what he will do is increase the number of people out of work by the hundreds of thousands. The fast food restaurants and others who employ many minimum wage people will downsize many employees.
The "ladders of opportunity" that he is talking about cannot be socialism (redistribution of wealth) because that does not work and never has. What this country was built on was minimum government, minimum taxes, minimum regulations, this is what creates real wealth and lifts the poor and middle class. All of the healing attributes that are needed are lacking under Obama's presidency.