Obama's best speech on inequality (Dec 4, 2013)

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Obama's best speech on inequality (Dec 4, 2013). This speech has been defined as "Obama's best speech on the economy" ever by the Washington Post. At last, an American leader that compares the US with other countries and realizes that our country is not always the land of opportunity for everybody, unless we do something to restore the American dream. I used this slideshow with my students to help them develop social awareness about inequality.

Transcript of Obama's best speech on inequality (Dec 4, 2013)

  • 1. A DANGEROUS AND GROWING INEQUALITY The best speech Obama has given on the economy The Washington Post, December 4, 2013 Advisory Program 2013/2014

2. Key words: Upward mobility and safety net 3. Premise Fact: General frustrationMotivation: rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard we work, the deck is stacked against us. 4. Historical reasons A relentless decades-long trend that is: A dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility. 5. Then and now The premise that we're all created equal is the opening line in the American story... But we have strived to deliver equal opportunity 6. Then and now The idea that success doesn't depend on being born into wealth or privilege, But it depends on effort and merit weve worked hard to put those words into practice 7. Historical examples Past public efforts to facilitate upward mobility: Abraham Lincoln (a "poor man's son") started a system for giving public funding to colleges Teddy Roosevelt (a "rich man's son") fought for protections for workers FDR fought for Social Security and minimum wages Lyndon Johnson fought for Medicare and Medicaid 8. Developments Until the '70s the economic ground felt stable After the '70s this social compact began to unravel 9. After the '70s Businesses lobbied to weaken unions Taxes were cut for the wealthiest Investments in infrastructures diminished The result is a "profoundly unequal economy 10. After the '70s Before the '70s the top 10 percent of the population was taking 30% of our income Now it takes 50% 11. Now A child born in the top 20% has about 2-in-3 chance of staying near the top A child born in the bottom 20% has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making to the top 12. Comparing with others Statistics show that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like Jamaica and Argentina. Canada, Germany and France have greater mobility than we do. 13. Staying where born The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough. But the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action. 14. Trends The trends of Increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream 15. Those trends are bad for the economy because: When families have less to spend then businesses have fewer customers then households rack up greater mortgage and credit card debt 16. Those trends are bad for social cohesion because: We tend to trust institutions less We tend to trust each other less Less mobility between generations 17. Those trends are bad for our democracy because: wealthier people can afford to hire lobbyist to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone elses expense 18. Myths False notion that this is an issue for minorities (the shifts have hurt all groups) False notion that the goals of growing the economy and reducing inequality are in conflict (they work in concert) Myth that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality 19. Findings A new study shows that disparities in education, mental health, obesity, absent fathers, isolation from church, isolation from community groups -these gaps are now as much about growing up rich or poor as they are about anything else. 20. Obamas roadmap 1. Push relentlessly a growth agenda (streamlining regulations that are outdated)2. Empower more people with skills and education needed in global economy (mentions policies about pre-school and student debt)3. Raise minimum wage 4. Do more for the long-term unemployed 5. Revamp retirement 21. Elephant in the room Inability to get anything done in WashingtonNeed of a serious debate about these issues 22. Need for a debate (1) If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, lets hear them. I want to know what they are. If you dont think we should raise the minimum wage, lets hear your idea to increase peoples earnings. If you dont think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what youd do differently to give them a better shot. 23. Need for a debate (2) If you still dont like Obamacare -- and I know you dont -- even though its built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how, exactly, youd cut costs, and cover more people, and make insurance more secure. 24. Need for a debate (3) You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what youre against. 25. Conclusion Ive never believed that government can solve every problem or should -and neither do you. But government cant stand on the sidelines in our efforts. Because government is us.