President Obama made the case that expanding opportunity for the middle class has become the key goal of his administration. He vowed he would continue to pursue it for the remainder of his time in office by reducing inequality, in his speech at The Center for American Progress on Wednesday.
The president began by summing up the birth and growth of America’s middle class, leading up to the subtle unraveling of the “social compact” in the late 1970s, which has now brought us to a state of inequality not seen since before the Great Depression.
“As values of community broke down and competitive pressure increased, businesses lobbied Washington to weaken unions and the value of the minimum wage,” he said. “As the trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthiest while investments in things that make us all richer, like schools and infrastructure, were allowed to wither.”
To illustrate how the rapid transfer of wealth since that time not only was stifling the economy but putting a strain on democracy itself, the president used the five statistics that follow.
AFP Photo/Saul Loeb