Obama says economic 'inequality' hurts everyone
December 6th, 2011
02:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama says economic 'inequality' hurts everyone

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that economic inequality in America is at "a level we haven't seen since the Great Depression" and "hurts us all."

"When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, it drags down the entire economy, from top to bottom," Obama said in a speech pushing for Congress to approve provisions of his jobs package.

"Inequality also distorts our democracy," he continued, sounding a theme expressed by Teddy Roosevelt in a speech more than a century earlier. "It gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder. And it leaves everyone else rightly suspicious that the system in Washington is rigged against them - that our elected representatives aren't looking out for the interests of most Americans."

Obama said that congressional Republicans "want to go back to the same policies that have stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for too many years."

"Their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules," Obama said in a speech pushing for passage of provisions of his jobs package. "Well, I'm here to say they are wrong."

Sounding a theme from a speech more than a century earlier by Teddy Roosevelt, Obama said: "I'm here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own."

"I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules," he said. "Those aren't Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They're American values, and we have to reclaim them."

Filed under: Economy • President Obama
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. Joseph D. Smith

    The most wasteful thing to spend on is actually our failed attempt at drug-prevention and manditory drug-rehab, which combined costs an annual-estimate in the trillions of dollars!

    December 6, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. ed vida

    And then ... Obama comes to CA and NY and Boston and fill in the name of any big city, has a luncheon to meet people. Not anyone that most people know, but the ones who are willing to shell out $30K per person. (Not sure if there was a slim chance those people were really low income people and blew their life savings to meet Obama.)

    December 6, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. rob frim ct

    Let's vote out everyone....only way to fix this mess is fresh people not typical politicians...republicians or democrats. LET'S VOTE ALL THE IDIOTS OUT

    December 6, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11