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Obama: Stark Inequality in Economy Corrosive to US Democracy

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US President Barack Obama said in his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois that inequality between economic classes in the United States can tear down democracy.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — “[S]tark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles," Obama stated on Tuesday. “If we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.”

Obama warned that if left unaddressed, the growing gap between rich and poor posed a potentially deadly threat to the future of democracy in the United States.

“If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves,” Obama claimed.

Without improved economic opportunity the growing bitterness and divisions that had plagued the United States in recent years would only get worse, Obama noted.

“If we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come,” he said.

Obama also said that the United States needs to get rid of the influence of money in its political system.

"We should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service," Obama stated on Tuesday.

Obama also called on the American people to react when politicians are practising "rigid extremes" or elected officials are dysfunctional.

"When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes," Obama said.

Obama also said voting should be made easier, especially when the US voting rates are some of the lowest in advanced democracies.

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Barack Obama also noted that protecting the laws against discrimination in major public sectors remains on the forefront of national agenda.

"US must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, housing, education and criminal justice system," Obama stated on Tuesday.

Obama pointed out that reinforcing the legislation must be coupled with a public change in attitude and move towards inclusion to effectively combat racial discrimination in the increasingly diverse nation.

The farewell address in Chicago marks outgoing Obama's final public speech before president-elect Trump formally takes office on January 20.

Obama served his two-term presidency from 2008 to January 2016. He was the 44th elected president of the United States and the first African American to be elected to office.

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