But we know that people’s frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles.... They experience in a very personal way the relentless, decades-long trend that I want to spend some time talking about today. And that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain -- that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. I believe this is the defining challenge of our time... [T]he basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed. In fact, this trend towards growing inequality is not unique to America’s market economy... But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country, and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.... The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here. Read this tag to see all of them.
—Barack Obama, December, 2013