President Obama cited Pope Francis and Abraham Lincoln on Wednesday and stated the country is in a crisis of inequality. The President addressed his second-term priorities to a sympathetic crowd at the Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Campus in Washington at an event hosted by the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
“Some of you may have seen just last week the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. How can it be, he wrote, that it’s not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country. And it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.”
In conjunction with that, Obama explained that statistics showed it was harder for the poor to rise, despite their hard working efforts.
“The problem is that alongside increased inequality, we’ve seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. A child born in the top 20 percent has about a two-in-three chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than one in 20 shot at making it to the top. He’s 10 times likelier to stay where he is.”
The President put government action to address inequality into perspective when he said, “More than half of Americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty.” Obama’s speech is an obvious push from the President to begin discussions on how to raise the minimum wage to narrow the inequality gap.
Assuming they can refrain from talking about the ACA website for more than two minutes, it will be interesting to see how the right-wing will react to President Obama citing the Pope when it comes to raising the minimum wage.