Inequality is ‘the defining issue of our time’

Text of remarks here


“Government can’t stand on the sidelines in our efforts, because government is us. It can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. And if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past – and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead.”



Greg Sargent: Inequality is ‘the defining issue of our time’

The speech on inequality that President Obama delivered just now will mostly pass unnoticed by the political world, with Republicans dismissing it as “class warfare” and an effort to distract from Obamacare, and pundits describing it more delicately as a ”pivot” away from the law.

But experts who see inequality as one of the most urgent moral, political and economic long term challenges facing the country will see it as one of the most important speeches of the Obama presidency – more ambitious than his similar 2011 speech in Kansas.

“This is a major speech on a topic that American presidents normally stay away from,” Tim Smeeding, an expert on inequality at the University of Wisconsin, tells me, adding that it compares in some ways to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s addresses. “The fact that a sitting president faced with a crowded agenda had the courage to discuss this overarching problem is historic.”

More here



55 Responses to “Inequality is ‘the defining issue of our time’”

  1. December 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    CNN, the network which sticks “straight down the middle”.

    • 4 africa
      December 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Lord help us. I am not even reading. What for?

      • December 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        Hell, does it matter? Having Beck and Cupp host one hour on CNN will disrupt the space/time continuum, even if they were just talking about macrame.

        • 6 Nena20409
          December 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm

          Now we know what Jeff Zucker meant when he said just this week that TeaNN was looking for Personalities.

        • 7 Layla
          December 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

          Oh Lord! Miss 36C cupp with the flake! Well CNN did just say they wanted shows with ‘attitude’..that’s a lot of attitude right there!!!! TBaggers will be watching, making CNN happy.

    • 8 COS
      December 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm


    • 9 anniebella
      December 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      If I ever had any doubt that CNN is gone, I don’t have any now. Glen Beck, who’s next the grand leader of the KKK?

    • 12 Nena20409
      December 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      CNN is going full circle now. They hired Glenn Beck had him for 3 yrs at 6:00PM CT for an hour and Fox hired him in 2008. Beck hired S. E. Cupp and now TeaNN has once again exposed what they have become. Wow.

    • 13 Linda
      December 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      CNN has Will Cain and Amy Holmes on all the time…they both work for Beck.

      • 14 Nena20409
        December 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        Cain is a paid pundit now a CNN contributor. Amy Holmes is not…..hence she is on CNN, MSNBC and Fox….pontificating.

    • 15 jacquelineoboomer
      December 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      OMG – I’m just seeing your “Jesus take the wheel” – fantastic! Either that or Friday will be the end of the world, eh? Unfreakinbelievable.

  2. December 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    He always puts truth to words.

  3. December 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    • 18 jacquelineoboomer
      December 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      So funny because I just used a forecast of Friday is the end of the world in my previous comment to ya.

  4. 19 GGail
    December 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Chipsticks, you are on FIRE today! Thanks!!

  5. 20 susanne
    December 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    our president: still, and always, the stand-up guy. no backing down, no sliding away, no dancing around. all are created equal–our fundamental value–and it is indeed the issue of our time! thanks to chips and tod for making sure pbo’s message isn’t muddied.

  6. 21 Grab a mop grace
    December 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I was forced to sit in a waiting room earlier today, adjacent to a room blaring Fox News. Since I never even click through that network on my way to another channel, I decided I would grit my teeth and listen. I told myself that I could breathe deep to keep my blood pressure down, and just consider the time spent listening as research.
    I’m here to report that of the 30 minutes that I was forced to listen, 25 of those minutes were spent on the topic of the dangerous lack of security on the ACA website. They had “experts” and pundits convincing the listener that there is no stopping the bad guys from getting your SS number, and even spent time pushing the fear that Hackers from other countries are happy to steal all of your personal info.
    Seriously, that’s all that focused on.
    The good news is that I didn’t hear the word Benghazi even once:). So there’s that…….

  7. 25 utaustinliberal
    December 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm


  8. 26 vcprezofan2
    December 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    /pant! huff! wheeze!/ Missed the bell for sure!

    Way to be attuned, Africa!

  9. December 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I haven’t watched MSNBC nor CNN for years. So they already don’t have my eyeballs. But what I can do is watch AJAM and give it the viewership it needs. I suggest we all do the same.

    • 28 pkayden
      December 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      I haven’t watched AJAM as yet. Apart from Chris Hayes, I like the MSNBC lineup beginning with Bashir and ending with O’Donnell.

      • 29 dotster3
        December 4, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        I noticed Joy Reid, who is always a great fill in, did not say “filling in for Martin Bashir” today, when she opened his hour. I really hope they didn’t fire him for hurting Sarah Palin’s feelings, giving her a little of her own medicine, no matter how gross. When I think about all the rt. wing nut jobs they have allowed to call President Obama every hateful name under the sun on that channel, then I don’t understand how this one statement at the end of a program could be grounds for dismissal. Bashir has never kowtowed and exposed the lies and the insanity of the GOP when no one else was saying a word. We need Reid but not at that hour—–I want him back in that time slot.

    • 31 Nena20409
      December 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      The ratings for this past Monday. Mo Joke is not a ratings bonanza. But Phil Griffin allows the garbage and Joe Cheating Scarborough runs MSNBC. I have stopped watching.


  10. 32 hopefruit2
    December 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm

  11. December 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Congrats on 1st Africa!!

    Thank you Chips for featuring the President’s truly historic speech on the rot at the core of American Society and the Gravest threat to our Democracy – vast inequity.

  12. December 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Boehner says he wants it ….

    … President Obama delivered it.


    • December 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      BTW, consistent with the #KOCH’s class warfare on the majority of Americans is their willingness to spend hundreds of millions trying to deny Americans health care – even though the #ACA is a private market place system. So, they are both ironic and evil.

      The scale of their evil was highlighted in several ways by the President’s remarks today and yesterday, including his pointed comments to young Americans being subjected to propaganda urging them not to get insured.


  13. 36 dotster3
    December 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Oh no——this is disgusting. I am furious. I am starting to be a conspiracy theorist ——-I can’t believe what is going on in our news biz——getting rid of all who have the guts to report on the insanity of GOP politics, any one who unabashedly supported President Obama.

  14. 38 dotster3
    December 4, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I hope so too, but where is that, pray tell?

    • December 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Al Jazeera seems the only option Dotster, unless he returns to Britain. It’s just amazing, you can say anything you like about PBO on TV, no matter how abusive, but take on the turd that is the half termer and you’re gone.

      • 40 dotster3
        December 4, 2013 at 4:53 pm

        I am really mad about this. It’s unbelievable. I think we need to bombard MSNBC—–I”m sick of their sick decisions, what’s ok—–all the lying about President Obama, all the name-calling, the accusations——and what’s not, any retribution against any Repub, even someone as nitwitty and inconsequential as Palin.

        • 41 pkayden
          December 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

          Do you have their contact info? Was looking for it but when I found MSNBC’s page, it wouldn’t submit my comment.

      • 42 57andfemale
        December 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        They don’t do opinion. I doubt there’s a place for him there.

        I am livid.

        • December 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

          Would love them to create that kind of opening for him though, 57, his arrival would generate huge publicity, I hope they grab the chance.

          • 44 57andfemale
            December 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

            My impression is that that may be possible in a year or so – not yet. They really have to give this format a chance.

            This was finally the last straw for my husband, who still turned on msnbc. Now he’s done. I don’t get access all day like Hubby does, but AJAM hasn’t pissed me off very much at all, except that idiot Velshi for ‘business’ news. Their in-depth reports are excellent. Not perfect but certainly credible.

  15. 45 dotster3
    December 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm

  16. 46 dotster3
    December 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    • 47 pkayden
      December 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      I am sick to my stomach. Just read about this on Little Green Footballs. Can’t believe MSNBC would do that to such a wonderful host. I’m looking for MSNBC’s contact info to let them know how cowardly they are.

    • December 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      When Martin Bashir asked for time off after the *apology*, I’m sure he took this time for serious reflection. His reflection probably included thoughts about the double standards. But even more, his reflections probably included thoughts about the profit to him at the risk of losing his soul.

      At some point or other, there has been angst about the guests on shows with hosts that we typically like. We’ve also had fits about some of the perceived traitorous comments that same hosts have made. When this occurs, I sometimes ask myself how much say some of these hosts really have as to who is invited as guests and even the direction of the topics discussed.

      As much as I would like Joy Reid to have her own show, I would rather she remain a contributor and continue to be free to express her opinions, rather than have a show if it means she will have to submit to the whims and dictates of right-wing corporate owners.

  17. 49 Nena20409
    December 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    5-6 Corporations control the Media. Ownership. Those who own the media control what 90% of Us here in US consume.

    Nixon is gone now. His mission with Roger Ailes was to change what used to be…..accuracy in the media.

    The Corporations don’t listen to those on the left or in the middle. They care about rightie points of view. Now with Martin gone, who would dare to speak out?

    The issue Martin addressed Palin’s comparison of Slavery to our Debt Ceiling was point on. But that is Not something the 5-6 Corporations want discussed.

    Beck called POTUS a racist and having a deep seated hatred for white people. Fox didn’t can him no matter what We The People said. Now, this Friday, CNN is having Beck, a once HLN host who in 2006 asked Keith Ellison: Why should I trust you. Why should I trust that you would not harm USA.

  18. 50 donna dem 4 obama
    December 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

  19. 51 donna dem 4 obama
    December 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

  20. 52 Vicki
    December 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    As I said on the previous thread I think Martin knew what he was doing with his comments.
    I think it was a cry from the heart. He had to understand there would be consequences.

    The Corporate media allows , encourages the demeaning of all but rich white Christian males—that is what they mean by Founding Fathers.
    So any trivial thing the RW objects to is “Hitler.” 6 million deaths and millions more injured, who cares, only gays, jews, gypsies, poles

    Martin saw Palin diminishing the suffering and death of slaves and maybe it was the final straw.

  21. 54 criquet
    December 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Hello all.

    MSNBC allowed Mar Halpernin to call the sitting President of the United States a dick on air and he still appears on MSNBC.

    That is all we need to know.

  22. 55 VotingPoet
    December 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I am sick about Martin Bashir, Joe Scarborough gets 15 hours a wk. I have been a media activist and wish there was a really effective way to shame them. Twitter seems the best tool that’s come along in a while.

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