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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid