The Buzz

BuzzChatter Wednesday: Obama takes aim at income disparity

Updated: 2014-01-29T13:09:58Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

It’s the day after the biggest speech of the year:

• Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened.” — President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The president also said it’s the job of Congress to “reverse these tides,” and he said he hopes to work with Congress to get that done. But if that doesn’t work, he’ll do what he can by acting alone. One example: The boost in the minimum wage for federal contract workers that he said he’d seek via executive order. House Speaker John Boehner downplayed the impact of the order, saying it would affect only new contracts.

• “The people of the 2nd District are tired of the same old failed speeches and policies from President Obama. The Show-Me State wants to know, ‘Where are the jobs?’ It’s time the President started working with Congress and not around us.” — Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner, a St. Louis-area Republican.

Republicans appeared to be universally unimpressed with the speech. If Obama hoped for a breakthrough in his relations with the GOP last night, he didn’t appear to get it.

• “For the second consecutive year, Kansas saw over the year growth of more than 10,000 jobs. This is all good news for Kansans.” — state Labor Secretary Lana Gordon on the latest Kansas unemployment numbers.

Gordon’s “good news” needs some clarification. For sure, the state jobless rate dropped from 5.1 percent in November to 4.9 percent in December. But the actual number of jobs fell by about 8,000. And yes, the number of jobs was up by 10,000 or so from a year ago. But that’s less than a 1 percent improvement over the year, the Wichita Eagle reported.

• “This is not about being conservative, it’s about being effective.” — former Kansas Congressman Todd Tiahrt appraising the job that his successor, fellow Republican Mike Pompeo, has done since his election in 2010.

Tiahrt of the Wichita area continues to openly flirt with the idea of seeking his old job and mounting a political comeback in a GOP primary race against Pompeo. Tiahrt lost the 2010 GOP primary for the U.S. Senate to Jerry Moran after serving 16 years in the House. But if Tiahrt would seek the office and win, he’d immediately become a front-runner for a Senate seat in Kansas the next time one opens up. Tiahrt’s decision could affect a lot of people.

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