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The income inequality narrative

The administration's attempt at driving their preferred narrative is working. Look at the headlines lately and you'll see a prevailing theme: wealth inequality. This is entirely by design.

You can thank White House senior advisor John Podesta for that. Within weeks, he has managed to come into the White House, set the narrative, stick to the narrative and let the media do the rest.

This is from yesterday in The Hill:

John Podesta’s fingerprints are all over the White House agenda just three weeks into his tenure.

The White House has focused on income inequality and executive action since President Obama’s new adviser came on at the beginning of the year — demonstrating a singlemindedness often missing during a rocky 2013.

Both issues were championed by Podesta as effective ways to score victories over congressional Republicans and motivate the Democratic base ahead of the midterm elections, where the Democratic majority in the Senate is in peril.

The White House has effectively managed to change the conversation in America to this “issue” of income inequality. Why, all of the sudden, did this become an issue? Because the White House decided it so.

The fact is that wealth inequality doesn't register on the Richter scale of priorities for Americans, who would much rather focus on jobs, the economy, healthcare, etc. But that doesn't matter, because this is what the White House wants us to focus on so they will make it a priority.

Even though people aren't concerned about wealth inequality, Americans are mostly united on the issue when asked about it. From the Pew Research Center:

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.

But when asked what the government should do about wealth inequality, the latest Fox News poll shows that “only a small minority of voters (13 percent) thinks the government should do something about the fact some people make a lot more money than others. A 62-percent majority is okay with disparities in income 'because that’s just how the economy works.' Another 21 percent say income inequality 'stinks,' but still think the government 'shouldn’t get involved.'” Note that there are differences between the issue of wealth inequality, poverty and economic mobility (which is not declining, by the way). While all seem to blend together, they are different issues but the solution for liberals all seem to be the same: redistribute more of the wealth.

Obama will continue to push the issue in his State of the Union address. From today's The Hill, “The address will include a 'healthy dose' of the income inequality message the White House has focused on in recent weeks, according to one senior administration official familiar with the text … The emphasis on executive action and messaging on income inequality are both intended to rally Obama’s political base, which lost confidence in the president during the difficult first year of his second term.”

It's clear that Obama and the Democrats are worried about voter turnout in November. They know that as Obama's popularity wanes, so do Democrat chances of keeping the Senate. Thus, they are reverting to a tried-and-true issue to agitate their base. They want people to believe that not only is it the government’s role to do something about wealth inequality but the government must do something or our lives will be worse.

This dovetails into a speech where New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer focuses on his grand plans to “poison” the Tea Party. He thinks he's got the Tea Party all figured out. According to The Hill, his plan is to try and divide the grassroots Tea Party members from wealthy Tea Party donors by – get this – appealing to the average Tea Partier's apparent love of big government: "The average Tea Party member, like the average American, likes government run Medicare, likes government built highways and water and sewer lines, likes government support for education, both higher and lower.” In announcing the speech, Schumer's office said, “Wealthy Tea Party leaders have convinced Tea Party rank and file and many other Americans that anti-government ideology is the answer to their problems — but many Tea Partiers and sympathizers support government programs — Democrats must exploit the difference.”

Again, the Democrats are trying to use wealth to divide us. Unfortunately it's clear that Schumer hasn't a clue as to what the Tea Party really stands for, and therefore I doubt his plan will be successful. By the way, his speech takes place at the Center for American Progress, which was founded by none other than John Podesta, the WH official responsible with this income inequality narrative.

In a few months, Democrats will gather at their Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) "Issues Conference" where the cornerstone issue will be wealth inequality. Ironically, these Democrats will be screaming about the tragedy of wealth inequality at the St. Regis hotel in Manhattan, which costs $695 per night. Really? Talk about poor optics.

Meanwhile the DCCC launched a campaign today, complaining that Republicans aren't focused on jobs and the economy and instead are focused on ObamaCare. But what about the White House, which is also not focused on jobs and the economy and instead is focused on the wealth disparity in America. It's not as if focusing on that is going to do any wonders for our economy or create jobs. It focuses on the differences between us rather than the opportunities to grow our economy. It assumes that the solution is redistributing more wealth to deal with this “crisis,” which is exactly the opposite of what we need in order to grow the economy.