The problems in the US relating to class and race have been discussed on a personal level by US president Barack Obama.
It is well documented that the wealth gap between the rich and the poor in America has been growing with the Occupy Wall Street movement highlighting the 99% of people who live on the same means as the remaining 1%.
The favourable tax loopholes that have allowed the super rich and wealthy hedge fund managers to be able to dodge paying taxes that average Americans have to pay has been highlighted by the President.
Speaking at a discussion focusing on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama said: “The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country.”
He added: “If we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to just make that modest investment, then, really, this conversation is for show.”
President Obama has been a long term advocate of introducing higher tax rates for hedge fund managers and is looking to redress the balance between the very rich and the rest of society before his term as President comes to an end.
The president’s remarks covered income inequality as much as racial divides according to Reuters
He said policy makers had to budget for programs that helped impoverished youth, and he singled out changing tax loopholes such as one on “carried interest” enjoyed by fund managers as a way to help boost resources for such programs.
While questions of class we openly discussed, so were issues relating to race by the President.
According to a report by Reuters, with police shootings of unarmed black men in the news and roughly a year and a half left in the White House to shape his legacy, Obama and his wife, Michelle, have become increasingly open in their remarks about race. It was at the panel discussion, that the president defended his practice of encouraging young African American men to take responsibility for their children when they become parents.
“I am a black man who grew up without a father and I know the cost that I paid for that. And I also know that I have the capacity to break that cycle, and as a consequence, I think my daughters are better off,” he said to applause.
Michelle Obama has also been speaking on a more personal level about the troubles and challenges that face Africa Americans I the country, drawing her and her husband’s own personal experiences.
“We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives: the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the ‘help,'” Michelle Obama said during a commencement address at Tuskegee University in Alabama according to Reuters.