Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How Good Does the Economy Have to Get?

Numbers improve, but the President gets no credit. So deeply is the anti-Obama narrative embedded in the debate over income inequality that, even with better numbers, 61 percent of Americans continue to be negative about the economy--a majority at all age and income levels, most independents and 80 percent of Republicans.

Only among Democrats, people with a postgraduate education and blacks do a majority see anything hopeful.

To break through all this resistance, the President is recruiting Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta, who has been in private life at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning public policy research group.

Even before he joins the White House, Podesta lays out the Obama argument in Politico:

“Income inequality in the United States today has reached levels last seen during the Roaring ’20s. Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent of incomes have risen by 279 percent, while the bottom fifth of workers have seen an increase of less than 20 percent. In 1979, the middle 60 percent of households took home 50 percent of U.S. income. By 2007, their share was just 43 percent.

“These trends have continued since the end of the Great Recession. Ninety-five percent of income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent of earners. In 2012, the top 10 percent took home more than 50 percent of the nation’s income—a record high. After a brief period in the late 1990s during which incomes rose across the board, median wages stagnated during the 2000s, and have remained depressed during the economic recovery.”

The President himself made the case for attacking income inequality, but it fell on deaf ears.

What will it take to get most Americans to listen to and understand what is in their best interests for the future?

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