During the past 30 years, much of the nation’s economic growth has benefited the top 1 percent of earners, while in the past decade, middle-class incomes have fallen. More recently, economic mobility has slowed or declined, providing young people with fewer opportunities than their parents had to ascend the economic ladder.
Obama’s actions as president provide a glimpse of how he views legislation as a means to his end. His health-care reform law, aimed at covering as many of the uninsured as possible, takes a shot at addressing income inequality by imposing new taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Beginning next year, upper-income earners will pay new surcharges that will result in an average additional tax bill of $20,000 for the top 1 percent. The money will help finance insurance subsidies and other coverage in 2014 for people in the lower middle class and below. A recent study by Cornell University’s Richard Burkhauser estimates that “Obamacare” will add $400 to $800 in disposable income annually for these Americans.
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