Can Obama's Inequality Message Win Back Millennials?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

US President Barack Obama answers a question during a town hall meeting at Binghamton University, on August 23, 2013 in Binghamton, New York. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty)

President Barack Obama has revived his populist message. At the Center for American Progress yesterday, the president made his case for the Affordable Care Act as a vehicle to reduce income inequality.

"I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American," the president said.

Jonathan Alter, journalist and author of "The Center Holds: Obama and his Enemies," explores the president's rebranding efforts. He notes that as the president dusts off his brand of populism, his core base—millennials—seems to be abandoning him.

A new poll from Harvard University 's  Institute of Politics finds that 47 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 would vote to recall the president from office. A majority—57 percent—are unhappy with the Affordable Care Act, the president's defining domestic achievement. The GOP shouldn't necessarily celebrate, though: 52 percent told pollsters that they would recall "all members of Congress."

Overall, millennials are concerned about their future, worried about employment, ballooning students loans, and economic uncertainty.

Heather McGhee, vice president of policy and outreach at Demos, and a millennial herself, examines how the president's message about income inequality resonates with the youngest voters, and what policies might quell the fears of the millennial generation.


Jonathan Alter and Heather McGhee

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [3]


I think this was the one I really wanted to comment on...

His legacy will be a job killer and the following is why.

All these “fixes” for the 99% are pointless because they do not address the fundamental problem. Lookup “Quantitative Easing” on WIKI. The first sentences should say that it’s used to increase money supply. But in our case it’s also a question of if the banks are lending that money.

The QEs drove inflation faster in China and Brazil than in the US which shows how the debt is destroying the internal money supply. This effect is the proof in the pudding that our borrowing is now hurting more than it helps.

Increasing money supply by reducing the deficit and debt would go a long way. Increased money supply is associated with increasing labor demand.

Increased labor demand is associated with higher wages which is what helps drive inflation thus the connection between printing money and inflation. Bernanke is simply keeping up the money supply to adjust for the mad borrowing of Congress. I say this as a Libertarian that the Fed is doing the right thing.

The other “fixes” do nothing to fix the underlying problem of low wages. Taking money from the CEO will only create a few jobs just before they’re destroyed. It’s a tactic that will buy the politicians more time to line their pockts.

Increasing minimum wage without increase the money supply appropriately, will literally destroy jobs by moving the money from new jobs or layoff to those that already have jobs. That’s why it’s call a job killer. It does not fix the underlying problem and simply redirects the current money supply. It will hurt those more that in the worst situations already.

For a healthy economy, fix the underlying problem. Right now, before the ACA, 70% of GDP is government spending and is consuming the private sector.

The private sector needs it's money supply back now.

Dec. 05 2013 03:38 PM
Meg C. from Medford, Oregon

I wonder if business owners have been sold a false narrative--that it is a right of US businesses to hire their employees at bargain-basement rates and that is simply fine for the economy as a whole. Why are business plans drawn up with the assumption that skilled workers are available at minimum wage? I know they are, but why? Why are't the job "creators" starting their businesses with a bigger picture than their bottom line? Henry Ford figured it out why are US businesses 100 years later so willfully blind?

Dec. 05 2013 01:47 PM

Strange how "economic justice" is the exact opposite of what it creates. Sort of like the "Affordable" Healthcare Act.

A distant federal government redistributing wealth for "progressive" political effect while rewarding it's political cronies and benefactors is not justice.

Higher unemployment and higher food prices will be the punishment for poor and young people and they will be instructed by the media to blame the corporations who are compelled to obey the law imposed by "progressive" politicians.
This happened with the lending industry and is now happening with the insurance industry,

Sabotage the system, blame the system and then take control of the system. Isn't that Marxism 101?

This is intended to expand government which means expanding the business of the Democratic Party so they can be more powerful in nearly all segments of society regardless of who is elected year in and out.

Dec. 05 2013 09:57 AM

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