News / USA

Obama: Economic Fairness is 'The Defining Issue of Our Time'

President Barack Obama visits patrons at We B Smokin' bar-b-que on the outskirts of Osawatomie, Kansas, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
President Barack Obama visits patrons at We B Smokin' bar-b-que on the outskirts of Osawatomie, Kansas, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama says restoring America’s prosperity and economic fairness is the defining issue of our time. The president went to the Midwestern state of Kansas Tuesday to restate his economic goals.

In a nearly hour-long speech, President Obama stressed the importance of reforming the nation's economy to give middle class Americans what he called a “fair shot.” “This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class because at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home and secure their retirement," he said.

The president spoke in the small town of Osawatomie, Kansas, where President Theodore Roosevelt called for similar economic reforms in 1910.

Mr. Obama talked about finding ways to help middle class workers and restore fairness to America's economic system, points, analysts say, he will likely make again in his reelection campaign.

The president criticized Republicans in Congress for opposing greater regulation of financial markets and higher taxes on wealthy Americans.  He repeated calls for reforms in the nation’s economic system, although he offered few details about how he would implement them.

Mr. Obama also called for reform of the U.S. tax code, in which he said tax rates for the wealthiest citizens have dropped dramatically in recent decades. “A quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of you, millions of middle class families.  Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as one percent.  One percent.  That is the height of unfairness," he said.

Mr. Obama noted that the average corporate chief executive officer earns about 110 times more than his or her workers.

The president again called on Congress to pass an extension of the payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the month.  He also said regulation of Wall Street banks and financial institutions needs to be strengthened. “Does anybody here think that the problem that led to our financial crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors?  Of course not," he said.

Congressional Republicans say excessive government regulation is costly to businesses and keeps them from hiring more people.

In addition, Mr. Obama repeated his call for a greater emphasis on education, science, research and high-technology manufacturing.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs