Obama Defines America’s Income Gap As “Challenge Of Our Time”
President Barack Obama spoke against growing financial inequality on Wednesday, calling the income gap between rich and poor in America “the defining challenge of our time,” and warning that these factors threaten prosperity in America.
“The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe,” he said at a speech held by the Center for American Progress. He added that “the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed.”
He lamented the effects of poverty on those with the least means, saying it “should offend all” Americans to think of a child lacking the resources to succeed.
The president referred to American distrust in the government as an obstacle. “Nobody has acquitted themselves very well these past few months,” he said. “So it’s not surprising that the American people’s frustrations with Washington are at an all-time high.”
Nevertheless, he advised that the nation’s current state “should compel us to action.”
In his many bullet points to combat inequality, Obama proposed a higher minimum wage, simplifying the tax code, incentivizing education and social programs and facilitating retirement for Americans. He did not enter into specifics regarding new policies.
The speech comes at a time of low approval for the recently embattled president, who apologized for the poor implementation of Obamacare earlier this year.
Nevertheless, he also took the opportunity to remind Republicans that their involvement will also help determine America’s economic future. “If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let’s hear them. I want to know what they are,” he said.