This week, the First Couple is in Denmark promoting Chicago and its positives to lure the 2016 Summer Olympic Games there. Yet, concerns mount over youth crime in the city following the beating death of an Honor Student killed when he walked into a gang fight while on his way home from school. Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs says, President Obama is aware of the tragedy and plans to speak on issues of youth violence soon.
Archives for September 2009
NATO leader agrees war strategy should be reviewed
WASHINGTON – As the White House began Tuesday to debate in earnest the increasingly unpopular Afghanistan war, NATO’s secretary-general said President Barack Obama is right to delay troop decisions until a possibly revamped approach is devised.
“The first thing is not numbers,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, told reporters as he and Obama wrapped up their Oval Office meeting.
Still, Fogh Rasmussen said U.S. and allied troops will remain in Afghanistan “as long as it takes.”
Associated Press Writer
11:33 AM EDT, September 29, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) – The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravaged household budgets.
The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans – those making more than $138,000 each year – earned 11.4 times the roughly $12,000 made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. That ratio was an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high of 11.22 in 2003.
Household income declined across all groups, but at sharper percentage levels for middle-income and poor Americans. Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade’s worth of gains to hit the lowest level since 1997.
Poverty jumped sharply to 13.2 percent, an 11-year high.
“No one should be surprised at the increased disparity,” said Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard University. “Unemployment hurts normal workers who do not have the golden parachutes the folks at the top have.”
Analysts attributed the widening gap to the wave of layoffs in the economic downturn that have devastated household budgets. They said while the richest Americans may be seeing reductions in executive pay, those at the bottom of the income ladder are often unemployed and struggling to get by.
Large cities such as Atlanta, Washington, New York, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago had the most inequality, due largely to years of middle-class flight to the suburbs. Declining industrial cities with pockets of well-off neighborhoods, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo, N.Y., also had sharp disparities.
Up-and-coming cities with growing middle-class populations, such as Mesa, Ariz., Riverside, Calif., Arlington, Texas, and Henderson, Nev., were among the areas showing the least income differences between rich and poor.
It’s unclear whether income inequality will continue to worsen in major cities, said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. Many Americans are staying put for now in traditional cities to look for jobs and because of frozen lines of credit.
“During the years of the housing bubble, there was middle-class movement from unaffordable metros with high-income inequality,” Frey said. “Now that the bubble burst, more of the population may be headed back to the high-inequality areas, stemming their middle-class losses.”
As to poverty, the biggest shifts last year were increases in metropolitan areas in Florida and central California. Stockton, Calif., jumped from 14.1 percent to 16.8 percent, while Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., rose from 12.7 percent to 15.4 percent. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Bradenton and Palm Bay – all in Florida – also saw gains in the share of poor residents.
Among other findings:
-Income at the top 5 percent of households – those making $180,000 or more – was 3.58 times the median income, the highest since 2006.
-Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia had higher poverty rates than the national average, many of them in the South, such as Mississippi (21.2 percent), Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana (each with 17.3 percent). That’s compared with 19 states and the District of Columbia that ranked above U.S. poverty in 2007.
-Use of food stamps jumped 13 percent last year to nearly 9.8 million U.S. households, led by Louisiana, Maine and Kentucky. The increase was most evident in households with two or more workers, highlighting the impact of the recession on both working families and unemployed single people.
-Pharr, Texas, and Flint, Mich., each had more than a third of its residents on food stamps, at 38.5 percent and 35.4 percent, respectively.
-Between 2007 and 2008, income at the 50th percentile (median) and the 10th percentile fell by 3.6 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, compared with a 2.1 percent decline at the 90th percentile. Between 1999 and 2008, income at the 50th and 10th percentiles decreased 4.3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, while income at the 90th percentile was statistically unchanged.
-Plano, Texas, a Dallas suburb, had the highest median income among larger cities, earning $85,003. Cleveland ranked at the bottom, at $26,731.
The findings come as the federal government considers new regulations to rein in executive pay at companies in which it has invested. President Barack Obama also typically cites the need for higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for health care overhaul and other measures, arguing that the wealthy have disproportionately benefited from tax cuts during the Bush administration.
The 2008 figures come from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey, which gathers information from 3 million households. The government first began tracking household income in 1967.
Associated Press writer Frank Bass contributed to this report.
President Obama will be making a personal pitch for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Chicago. It is a first for any United States President to make an appeal of this nature. The President will join Mrs. Obama in making direct pitches to the IOC. Those familiar with her speech say it will not leave a dry eye in the house.
The White House issued a statement on the Presidents decision to travel to Denmark for the October 2, 2009 pitch.
President Barack Obama to Travel to Copenhagen
President will join the First Lady to Support Chicago’s Bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games
WASHINGTON – Today, the White House announced that President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark to support Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games at the 121st International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session. On Friday, October 2nd, IOC members will elect the host city for the 2016 Summer Games.
President Obama will join First Lady Michelle Obama, who will be leading the United States delegation to Copenhagen. Mrs. Obama will arrive in Copenhagen on Wednesday, September 30, along with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and head of the White House Office on Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport.
President Obama will depart Washington on the evening of Thursday, October 1 and arrive in Copenhagen on the morning of October 2 local time, just prior to Chicago’s presentation to the voting members of the IOC. He will arrive back in Washington on Friday afternoon.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will both make presentations to the IOC during Friday’s session. They will discuss why Chicago is best to host the 2016 Summer Games, and how the United States is eager to bring the world together to celebrate the ideals of the Olympic movement.
While in Denmark, the President and First Lady will meet with Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness, the Prince Consort. President Obama will also meet with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
President Obama makes his first trip to the United Nations for his first General Assembly Session as president. The primary focus engaging with the world body to keep America safe from nuclear threats and terrorism. The presidents schedule is full during his time in New York before heading to the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice spoke of the Presidents planned meeting with African leaders on job creation, African agriculture and trade expansion.
Ambassador Rice on the trip and the focus of foreign policy.