President Obama’s economic policies couldn’t find a single supporter in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate as the candidates agreed hard-working Americans are still suffering since the last recession ended in 2009, according to an editorial by The Wall Street Journal
“If Republicans want to make the case against Obamanomics, they can start by quoting Democrats,” the newspaper opined. “Tuesday’s message is stark: After nearly seven years of Barack Obama in the White House, America’s working families are struggling in an economy with fewer good jobs, stagnant paychecks, growing inequality and a system that rewards billionaires while hard-working Average Joes are left behind.”
Inflation-adjusted household income dropped to $51,939 on average in 2013 from a peak of $56,895 in 1999, when the U.S. economy was riding high on the dot-com bubble, Census data show
. The highest it’s been during the Obama presidency is $54,059 in 2009, when the country was recovering from the deepest recession in 80 years.
Income inequality has become a major issue for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates who want their message to resonate with a frustrated public.
Four-in-five Americans “were either ‘angry because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power’ or ‘anxious and uncertain because the economy still feels rocky and unpredictable’ — or both,” according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
Income inequality “hasn’t been this bad since the 1920s,” said Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front runner. She wants to “emulate Mr. Obama’s policies and then ‘go further’ in raising taxes, imposing more regulations and beating up the drug and insurance companies," according to the WSJ editorial.
“The middle class of this country for the last 40 years has been disappearing,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent member of Congress who represents Vermont. “Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all of the new income and wealth being created is going to the top one percent.”
“What I’m talking about is this, our middle class is shrinking. Our poor families are becoming poorer, and 70 percent of us are earning the same, or less, than we were 12 years ago,” former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said. “We need new leadership, and we need action.”
Lincoln Chafee, former Democratic governor of Rhode Island, said he also would make it a priority to “close the gap between the haves and have-nots.”
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