Obama needs to visit homeless shelters while he is in KC on Friday

09/17/2013 12:01 PM

09/17/2013 6:13 PM

When President Barack Obama lands Friday in Kansas City to visit the Ford Claycomo plant, he should also go to Hope Faith Ministries, the Salvation Army, City Union Mission and Kansas City Rescue Mission.

At those places, Obama will see hundreds of folks who haven’t come close to feeling the goodness of the improving economy.

It’s good that the president will focus attention on the F-150 pickup truck production as a sign of the country’s economic upswing. But he also needs to pay attention to the people who are struggling to get by.

An Associated Press analysis shows that the gap in employment rates between the highest- and lowest-income families in America has never been higher. Unemployment rates for people earning less than $20,000 a year topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the Great Depression of the 1930s, The Associated Press reports.

It’s likely worse for African Americans and people who failed to finish high school. The trend has been that middle-income workers are being picked up in low-wage jobs. But that bumps low-income workers onto the street.

Yet, for households making above $150,000 annually, the unemployment rate is a cool 3.2 percent, which is traditionally seen as full employment. They are among the people buying the shiny new pickup trucks that Obama will see Friday.

But the president needs to take a look at the people who are being victimized by the drive-by of the improving U.S. economy.

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