Obama has failed to eliminate socioeconomic inequalities
by Anadolu Agency
WASHINGTONJan 05, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Jan 05, 2017 12:00 am
A wide variety of studies reveals that Barack Obama's administration has failed to deliver a fairer distribution of income across American society, creating a more distressed and troubled middle class across the country
Socioeconomic figures point to failures in policy under Obama administration. Inequality in income distribution in the U.S. rose to the highest level in nearly a century under the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Throughout his eight-year term in office, President Obama -- who will soon leave the Oval office after President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20 -- has failed to meet expectations for success in socioeconomic politics, falling short as he has in many other areas during his Presidency.
Having won the presidential elections with promises to empower the middle class on the heels of the big recession, Obama saved the U.S. economy from a major crisis but failed to equally distribute economic gains to the public.
Many studies conducted by academics and researchers at esteemed institutions have indicated that the inequality in income distribution in the country has reached its worst level in 100 years under the Obama administration.
U.S. has highest inequality in income distribution
Inequality in income distribution, which affects many social issues such as education, life expectancy, psychological illnesses, early pregnancy, drug addiction, suicide and crime rates, reportedly plays a part in the demonstrations across the country, which have become increasingly violent.
A study conducted by Nobel laureate and esteemed Economist Thomas Piketty along with Professor Emmaneul Saez of the University of California Berkeley reveals that U.S. revenue has been distributed in the most disproportionate way that economists have seen since the 1920s. According to Piketty and Saez's study published last month by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, the annual average income of the country's most affluent 1 percent has tripled to $1.3 million over the past 25 years. The annual average income of the 50 percent segment, which makes up the lower half of the income pyramid, remained at $16,000. The updated official data of the U.S. government for 2013 also supports Piketty and Saez's findings.
Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen said in an earlier speech in October 2014 that she was worried about the inequality in income distribution and gave the warning that "Income and asset inequality have reached the highest levels of the last 100 years, according to some indicators."
The Global Wealth Report, prepared annually by Allianz Insurance, shows that the U.S. surpasses other countries with the highest levels of income inequality. According to last year's report, the Gini coefficient used to determine the level of income inequality was measured as 0.81 percent for the U.S. , 0.55 percent for Japan, 0.72 percent for Germany, 0.65 percent for France and 0.75 percent for the U.K. The U.S., which showed poor performance in income inequality compared to other developed countries, has also outscored the developing countries. According to the said report, the Gini coefficient stood at 0.52 percent in China, 0.68 percent in Russia, 0.70 percent in Mexico and 0.67 percent in Turkey.
In addition, "The Equality of Opportunity Project" led by Nathaniel Hendren, a professor of economics at Harvard University and economics professor Raj Chetty of Stanford University, revealed that only half of Americans born after 1980 earned more than their parents.
American middle class is losing ground
A report released by the Washington-based Pew Research Center in May suggests that the middle class in metropolitan areas is losing ground due to falling incomes and growing inequality in income distribution.
According to a survey based on data collected from 229 metropolitan areas by the institution between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of adults living in middle-income households fell in nine out of 10 U.S. metropolitan areas.
High-income earners live longer than low-income ones
Another three-year survey which evaluates the Equality of Opportunity Project reveals that the most affluent 1 percent of the U.S. population live 10 to 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent of the populace.
Accordingly, men who constitute the most affluent 1 percent live 15 years longer than the men included in the lowest bracket of 1 percent.The study points out that this difference, which stems from income disparity in life expectancy, is comparatively 10 years in women.
According to figures, while the average lifespan for the most affluent men was 87.3 years in 2016, this expectancy has fallen to 72.7 years in the poorest region of the U.S. In females, the average lifespan in the richest region was 88.8 years compared to 78.7 years in the most destitute region.