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Obama: what happened to the American middle class?

Obama discusses America's faltering middle class and the political fight to reclaim it, in excerpts released from his 60 Minutes interview to be aired Sunday.

Obama osawatomie kansas speech 12 7 2011Enlarge
Barack Obama at Osawatomie High School, December 6, 2011. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama clarified his position on wealth and class in a 60 Minutes interview, saying he did not want a redistribution of money, but to rebuild the languishing middle class.

60 Minutes interviewer Steve Croft said the notion Obama wanting to redistribute wealth came form a speech the president made Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas, where he repeatedly mentioned “income inequality,” according to excerpts released online. The 60 Minutes interview is scheduled to air Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET.

"Look, everybody's concerned about inequality,” Obama said. “What's happened to the bargain? What's happened to the American deal that says, you know, we are focused on building a strong middle class?”

The president said people are wondering how many Americans families with multiple jobs are struggling to make ends meet while big corporations are making record profits.

Obama elaborated:

“The question is going to be, in this election, whether or not we are able to reclaim that vital center of American thought and American values that says, 'we're all in this together and, you know, it matters if we are building a broad-based middle class, where everybody is able to do their part and everybody's able to succeed.”

There is no universally agreed upon definition of what consists of the middle class and characteristics can vary widly. The Congressional Research Service said the middle class income in the US was between $19,0000 a year to $91,000 annually, according to American Public Media's Marketplace.

A Brookings Institute economist said a middle class income can range anywhere from $24,000 to $96,000 a year. And of course, cost-of-living varies from coast to coast.

Los Angeles-based Marketplace reported an individual living a “nice life” on $90,000 in Atlanta would need $147,000 for a similar lifestyle in the City of Angels.


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111210/obama-american-middle-class