WH: Not Just the 'Wealthy': Now It's the 'Well-Connected,' Too

By Susan Jones | February 21, 2014 | 8:09am EST

Elizabeth Debicki (left) as Jordan Baker and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan in a scene from 'The Great Gatsby.' (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

(CNSNews.com) - As the White House treats “income inequality” as one of the nation's most pressing problems, a new phrase has entered the political lexicon.

At a news conference on Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest used the phrase "wealthy and well-connected" four times. Two other times, he used “well-connected” as a synonym for the wealthy.

The implication is that wealthy people get that way through their connections -- who they know -- rather than through discipline and hard work. (As the minimum wage debate shows, the Obama administration uses the adjective “hard-working” only for low-wage earners.)

In his first reference to “the wealthy and the well-connected” on Thursday, Earnest was criticizing Republicans for refusing to "even consider the possibility of raising some revenue by closing some loopholes that benefit only the wealthy and the well-connected."

The second and third mentions came in the same sentence: Earnest said Republicans, in response to President Obama's "willingness to compromise," must agree to close "loopholes that benefit the wealthy and the well-connected -- tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and well-connected," he repeated.

Later, Earnest again complained that Republicans so far have refused to consider “closing a loophole that would cost a corporation or a wealthy individual one penny… And why they think that it's good policymaking to ask senior citizens and veterans and middle-class families to make sacrifices but say that corporations and wealthy individuals and well-connected individuals shouldn't have to bear any of that responsibility or make any of those sacrifices, it doesn't make sense.

"It's not fair, and it's not good policy,” he continued. So that's why the president has insisted that if we're going to ask seniors and others to make sacrifices by changing entitlement programs, then we're also going to ask corporations and well-connected individuals to give up some of their tax loopholes."

In his final reference, Earnest said “it would not be fair to just ask seniors to make a sacrifice in support of reducing the deficit without also asking the wealthy and well-connected to give up some of their tax loopholes."

President Obama has used a variation of the phrase himself.

In speaking about his FY 2014 budget proposal last April, he said if Republicans were serious about deficit reduction, they would close tax "loopholes," which "allow folks who are already well-off and well-connected game the system."

Last March, in remarks on the sequester, the president used the phrase "the well off and the well connected" four times.

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