As anyone paying attention to the rhetoric of some of the leading GOP presidential candidates this year, the term “income inequality” is no longer strictly the province of the Occupy Wall Street crowd.
“The opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time,” Jeb Bush said in his first major speech of the year in Detroit last month. “More Americans are stuck at their income levels than ever before.”
Paul Ryan (not running for president) said that President Obama’s policies have “exacerbated inequality.” Marco Rubio’s new book discusses the issue in-depth. Heck, Mitt Romney mentioned the issue when he was still flirting with the possibility of running for president again, saying, “Under President Obama the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty in American than ever before.”
But when Fed Chair Janet Yellen talks about it, it’s a partisan issue?
That’s what happened yesterday at the House Financial Services Committee.
As the Huffington Post reports this morning:
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) took issue with the timing of her Oct.17 speech on inequality — which came at a conference on inequality and economic opportunity — arguing that because it was delivered within weeks of last November’s elections, it “clearly indicate[s] that the Fed is already acting and making decisions clearly on a partisan political basis.”
“I am discussing a significant problem that is facing America,” Yellen told lawmakers in response to questions about the speech.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) suggested that Yellen may be making side deals with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and, in a reference to the White House, could be allowing for “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue policies getting pushed through the Fed.” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), in challenging Yellen’s authority and ability to address income inequality, told Yellen, “You’re sticking your nose in places you have no business to be.”
Apparently while some of the nation’s leading Republicans think the income gap is the most pressing issue in America, rank and file members of Congress have a problem with that?
In other news….
On Tuesday night we attended the Ready for Hillary event in Tampa’s Mise en Place restaurant. It was the place to be if you’re were a Hillsborough Democrat – or at least one that doesn’t support Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.
Later Tuesday night we attended what is probably the last Tampa City Council forum of the 2015 campaign. When asked by the Young Republicans what services they will cut since they don’t like big government, virtually the entire cast of candidates said they wouldn’t cut a thing – but would like to ideally provide more services for city folk.
A damning report from Integrity Florida says that big corporations in the state get generous subsidies from taxpayers – at a time when some state legislators wanted to reduce the corporate tax rate in the state – one of the lowest in the nation.
A la the Republican Party two years ago, the national Dems are trying to figure out What Went Wrong in 2014, and have produced a new (preliminary) report spelling out the reasons – sort of.