Labor Rights Politics

President Obama Discusses Income Inequality, Calls for Change

In a speech Wednesday, President Barack Obama discussed the US economy and the Affordable Care Act, and he called for changes to reduce the growing income inequality in the US.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

“I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American,” he said.

President Obama highlighted several facts about income inequality – for example, the fact that the bottom 20 percent of income levels has less than a 5 percent chance of making it to the top income levels – before calling for several changes. He discussed closing corporate tax loopholes, discarding incentives to send jobs overseas, and increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 from the current $7.25.

An increase in the federal minimum wage would be especially beneficial for women and families, who make up 64 percent of all workers earning minimum wage or less. Senator Tom Harken (D-Iowa) and Representative George Miller (D-CA) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 in March, but it is currently sitting in a congressional committee awaiting approval.

President Obama also discussed leaving behind stereotypes of low-income people and workers in order to have more productive dialogue. “We have to reject a politics that suggests any effort to address it in a meaningful way somehow pits the interests of a deserving middle class against those of an undeserving poor in search of handouts,” he said.

Media Resources: Associated Press 12/4/13; Feministing 12/5/13; Ms. magazine blog 12/5/13; Mother Jones 2/14/13; Feminist Newswire 3/5/13;

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