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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid