President Obama Speech On Income Inequality And Economic Mobility

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On December 4, 2013, President Barack Obama addressed the nation, focusing on income inequality and economic mobility. President Obama claimed that “The combined trends of the increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe (The White House, 2013b).” President Obama also stated that “this is the defining challenge of our time (The White House, 2013).” The “challenge” he was referring to the ability of the economy to work for all working Americans. Currently, with the income distribution inequality facing the United States, one could argue that the economy is not functioning for everyone. President Obama feels that in order to decrease the income inequality and improve mobility, the government must step in and put policies in place. Without government intervention and implementing policies, including a raise in minimum wage, the United States will not be able to achieve and acceptable distribution of income or an acceptable incentive for productivity. The current distribution of income in the United States is a result of the free market failing. According to the United States Census Bureau, the top fifth of the income earners took home 51% of the national income while the bottom fifth took home a mere 3.2% (United States of Commerce, 2014). Income of the top fifth has been slowly increasing through the past ten years and the bottom fifth has been slowly decreasing.

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