News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 10, 2014: I have taken this week’s headline directly word for word from The Wall Street Journal since it is perfect for this week’s episode even if it comes from an unlikely source that may have a skewed agenda using it.
The single most notable image of the Obama Presidency is the never ending round of $30,000+ a person fund raisers President Obama has attended at the private homes of super wealthy supporters. That is a fact! The impression is that he enjoys these very exclusive gatherings more than anything else he does; that he enjoys the company of the super rich in elegant and private settings where he can mingle with them unencumbered.
This is a fitting introduction to this week’s episode of Obama’s America.
This week’s episode is inspired by two somewhat compatible newspaper articles – this last week in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
The facts cannot be repeated too often.
Inequality in America has increased while Barack Obama has been President. The fact that this problem goes far behind him and that this trend was in place before he became President does not relieve him of “richly” deserved criticism at all for what it says about him and his Presidency.
Has he made this most troubling problem a signature issue of his? Absolutely not! Has he used his Presidency to symbolize this problem? Absolutely not! Has he regularly criticized the systemic deficiencies at the heart of the problem? Absolutely not! The fact is he has ensured he is not associated with the problem with his silence on the matter and his persona style.
So as much it is so attractive to him to spend so much time visiting the homes of the super rich all over the United States, flying here, there and everywhere on Air Force One to do so and leaving each time with huge amounts of campaign money either for his campaign or now the Democratic Party, it is just wrong in an age of ever increasing inequality to celebrate at the palaces of the Super Rich not as a private citizen but as “our” President!
Yes, it is the symbolism but it is far deeper. Does anyone believe Obama is going to try to take an axe to increasing inequality when he constantly feeds at the home of the Super Rich – or Supper Rich – whose unbridled wealth and power lie at the center of inequality in America?
So let me bring in these two recent articles for context. Both from newspapers often associated with the fabulously wealthy. First our regular contributor, The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2014. Again their title is “The President of Inequality.” The article begins …
“In the latest grim tiding of the public mood, merely 42% think the American dream that “if you work hard, you’ll get ahead” remains true, down from 53% in 2012 and 50% in 2010. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll last week, the steepest declines in belief in the last two years were among people under age 30 (down 16 percentage points), women (14 points) and Democrats (17).”
Then this …
“Start with the Census Bureau’s annual poverty and income survey, which came out this month. Real U.S. median household income—or the wages earned in the middle of the wage distribution—was $51,939, a 0.3% increase over 2012. But the 2013 figure is still 3.9% lower than the median income when the recession ended in 2009, 7.9% lower than the median in 2007.”
“This slow, uneven growth has also led to an increase in inequality by the measures the President’s favorite economists like to cite. The Census reports that the U.S. Gini Coefficient, which measures income inequality, “was significantly higher” in 2013, rising to 0.481 from 0.476. About 45.3 million people or 14.5% of the population live below the official poverty line, down from 15% in 2012 but statistically the same number of people. Poverty over the prior four years rose to the highest levels since the mid-1960s. The poverty rate was 14.3% in 2009 and 12.5% in 2007.”
ENCORE please …
“About 45.3 million people or 14.5% of the population live below the official poverty line, down from 15% in 2012 but statistically the same number of people. Poverty over the prior four years rose to the highest levels since the mid-1960s.”
And again …
“Poverty over the prior four years rose to the highest levels since the mid-1960s.”
Isn’t that interesting? Does anyone think that is what President Obama discuses with the Super Rich in their mansions at dinner, eating expensive food and drinking the finest wines? I sure don’t.
I don’t want to misrepresent the purpose of this WSJ article. It was typical their message is he needs to make the rich even richer by lowering their taxes even further to make things better for the rest of us. Really?
Fortunately if unexpected to some but not me, The Financial Times article is far more sanguine in an article written by their thoughtful highly respected chief economic correspondent Martin Wolf.
His article on September 30. 2014 is titled: ”Why inequality is such a drag on economic.” A title and an article you would not see in The Wall Street Journal. At the same time Martin Wolf does not criticize Obama in his article as he should and as WSJ does be it convoluted.
So now to the FT article …
“The US – both the most important high-income economy and much the most unequal – is providing a test bed for the economic impact of inequality. The results are worrying.”
“This realization has now spread to institutions that would not normally be accused of socialism. A report written by the chief US economist of Standard & Poor’s, and another from Morgan Stanley, agree that inequality is not only rising but having damaging effects on the US economy.”
“According to the Federal Reserve, the upper 3 per cent of the income distribution received 30.5 per cent of total incomes in 2013. The next 7 per cent received just 16.8 per cent. This left barely over half of total incomes to the remaining 90 per cent. The upper 3 per cent was also the only group to have enjoyed a rising share in incomes since the early 1990s. Since 2010, median family incomes fell, while the mean rose. Inequality keeps rising. The Morgan Stanley study lists among causes of the rise in inequality: the growing proportion of poorly paid and insecure low-skilled jobs; the rising wage premium for educated people; and the fact that tax and spending policies are less redistributive than they used to be a few decades ago.”
“According to the Federal Reserve, the upper 3 per cent of the income distribution received 30.5 per cent of total incomes in 2013. The next 7 per cent received just 16.8 per cent. This left barely over half of total incomes to the remaining 90 per cent.”
Shame on President Obama for not castigating the Super Rich every day and NOT challenging Congress to address INEQUALITY in America! Instead Obama feasts at the homes of the richest Americans in private and then leaves their mansions with piles of political cash in return for doing nothing to spoil their fun at the expense of the rest of us in Obama’s America.
Whose mansion will President Obama visit next?