President Obama’s speech on Economic Mobility on Wednesday, was a much needed jolt of reality about the state of our economy and income inequality in America. I spent the past two weeks researching the topic of poverty in America in the past sixty years. Suffice to say, I was glad to read Obama’s speech after writing an eight page report on the topic of poverty.
Paul Krugman wrote a must read piece in the NY Times today. Krugman said:
Mr. Obama laid out a disturbing — and, unfortunately, all too accurate — vision of an America losing touch with its own ideals, an erstwhile land of opportunity becoming a class-ridden society. Not only do we have an ever-growing gap between a wealthy minority and the rest of the nation; we also, he declared, have declining mobility, as it becomes harder and harder for the poor and even the middle class to move up the economic ladder. And he linked rising inequality with falling mobility, asserting that Horatio Alger stories are becoming rare precisely because the rich and the rest are now so far apart.
Krugman concludes that President Obama’s ”health reform, which represents a major strengthening of America’s social safety net, is a huge achievement.” He also notes that Obama will be “considered one of our most important presidents as long as he can defend that achievement and fend off attempts to tear down other parts of the safety net, like food stamps.”
It was great to hear President Obama calling out the Republicans on this issue:
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. If you don’t think we should raise the minimum wage, let’s hear your idea to increase people’s earnings. If you don’t think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you’d do differently to give them a better shot.
There’s a lot that can be said on the issue of income inequality in American. I think the president said it all very well on Wednesday. Now it’s up to Congress to act and get some legislation passed that will turn the economic tide around. So many people are struggling acorss America. Stagnant wages, no jobs, continuing foreclosures… The list goes on.
Watch President Obama’s speech here:
Postscript: Unemployment may be down, we still need to see wages increase to make a difference in our economic recovery.