The president has been decrying the growing gap between rich and poor in the U.S. to help sell his retread tax-and-spend proposals. But those policies have already produced record levels of income inequality.
In his speech in Illinois last week, and at events since, Obama described income inequality in the starkest terms. “This growing inequality is morally wrong,” he said, and “undermines the very essence of America.”
To be sure, income inequality is a standard trope for liberals, who always use it to advocate more wealth redistribution.
And Obama’s latest focus neatly coincides with his plans to push for more federal spending and taxes on the “rich” in coming budget battles.
But what Obama conveniently leaves out of his sermons is that income inequality has grown faster on his watch than any time in the past two decades, at least.
Research by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez shows that since the Obama recovery started in June 2009, the average income of the top 1% grew 11.2% in real terms through 2011.