Michelle Obama: Achieving the American Dream ‘No Longer Possible for Too Many Families’

By Ryan Kierman | June 12, 2013 | 7:24am EDT

First Lady Michelle Obama (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Even as her husband attempts to grow the economy “from the middle out,” first lady Michelle Obama says achieving the American Dream is “no longer possible” for many middle-class Americans.

Speaking last Thursday at a fundraiser for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, Mrs. Obama said: “That fundamental American promise that so many of us grew up with—that no matter where you start out, with hard work, you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids—that promise unfortunately is no longer within reach for too many families in our country.”

She wasn’t blaming her husband. In fact, as she told the assembled Democrats, “Because of you, we didn’t just win two elections.  We have made real and meaningful change in this country -- because of you.  Because of you, our economy continues to strengthen with 38 straight months of job growth -- that’s more than three straight years.”

But, echoing the president, Mrs. Obama said, “We still have so much more to do.”

She admitted that the American Dream “probably wouldn’t be in reach" for the family in which she grew up.

Mrs. Obama said her father’s job at a Chicago water plant “paid him enough to keep food on our table.”

“Now, we weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we had stability and we had peace of mind.  See, because when I was growing up, a family of four living on a single blue-collar salary could build a solid life without debt and without relying on any form of public assistance…But today, for so many families, that’s no longer possible.  Folks are working harder than ever before and doing everything right, and it’s still not enough. “

Under President Obama, "not enough" means more government assistance for people who aren't making ends meet.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, when Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, the number of SNAP (food stamp) recipients was 31,939,110. By March 2013, the latest month reported, the number of SNAP recipients had increased steadily 47,727,052, the third highest number ever recorded.

Rachel Sheffield, policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, told CNSNews.com that increasing welfare spending places an undue burden on taxpayers.

“The Obama Administration’s approach to welfare has been to increase federal welfare spending as well as to make it easier for recipients to get on welfare… For those who are taxpayers, a growing welfare system means greater costs.  Americans are a generous people and believe in helping their neighbor -- however, they also believe that able-bodied welfare recipients should do what they can do help themselves.”

Sheffield noted that President Obama has rolled back work requirements for welfare recipients—a central element to welfare reform in 1996. “On top of that, the Obama Administration has also allowed states to waive the food stamp programs’ work requirements.”

Since taking office, the economy has been at the forefront of Obama’s political agenda. “The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift.  And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth,” the president said in his first inaugural address.

On February 19, 2009, newly-elected president Obama signed into law what was to be the crux of his economic reform, an $831 billion ‘stimulus’ spending package that, among other things, was projected to prevent unemployment from reaching 8 percent.

However, in October 2009—nine months after Obama assumed office and eight months after having signed the stimulus bill—unemployment reached a record high of 10.0 percent, taking another 35 months to drop below 8 percent. Today, the unemployment rate stands at 7.6%, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill “saved or created” some 3.5 million jobs—far short of the Obama Administration’s original estimate of 6.8 million. That works out to more than $234,000 spent per year for each job created—at a time when real median household income in the United States stands at $50,054.

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