News / USA

Obama Highlights Growing US Income Gap

Obama Highlights Growing US Income Gapi
X
January 23, 2014 8:42 PM
Recent government surveys in the United States show that the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else is growing. President Barack Obama intends to focus on the issue in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, and VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more in Washington.
Recent government surveys in the United States show that the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else is growing.  A Congressional Budget Office survey found that the wealthiest one percent increased their income by 275 percent over the past 30 years, compared to less than 40 percent for the vast majority of the U.S. middle class. 

President Barack Obama intends to focus on the widening income gap in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

From wealthy homes in California to the urban blight of Detroit, the income gap is growing.

Minimum-wage workers recently took to the streets of Atlanta to demand more money.

It’s a cause that resonates with fast food workers in Washington, including Erica Gayles.

“It’s a struggle.  I’m tired of struggling," she said. "I just want to live comfortably."

Those struggles have caught the attention of Democrats in Washington like Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.   

“It’s just kind of a harshness, being hard on people, especially hard on people who don’t have anything, hard on people who are at the bottom rung of the ladder," he said. "It’s not befitting a great nation."

Obama will highlight the issue in his State of the Union address.

“Restoring the American dream of opportunity for everyone who’s willing to work for it is something that should unite the country," the presiden said. "That shouldn’t divide the country.  That’s what we should be aspiring to, that everybody has a shot if they are willing to work hard and take responsibility."

It will also be an election year theme for Democrats, says analyst John Fortier.

“The larger philosophical theme of not only the economy just getting better, but it getting better for everyone," he said. "And how an economy that improves just for the rich is not one that he wants to see, I think, will be a theme of his."

Opposition Republicans have a different focus, says House Speaker John Boehner.

“When you look at it, the American people have a right to continue to ask the question, where are the jobs?  The president has been in office now for over five years, and it’s time for the president to admit that his policies are not working," he said.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a possible presidential contender in 2016, says individual states should take the lead on closing the income gap.

“Washington is too bureaucratic and too resistant to change, and its ‘one size fits all’ approach is just not conducive to solving a problem as diverse and complex as this one," he said.

With Republicans opposed, Obama will have to work around Congress, says expert Thomas Mann.

“He is going to have to rely much more on the authority he has as president using executive regulatory approaches and administrative initiatives and other kind of public-private ventures that don’t require legislation," said Mann.

The president will travel to the Vatican in late March to meet with Pope Francis, and the White House says fighting poverty and income inequality will be on the agenda.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid