In an interview Wednesday with CNN Money, Rep. Darrell Isssa (R-Oceanside) said that America’s poor are the “envy of the world.”
During the interview, Issa was asked if he personally felt responsible to address the growing income inequality in the United States. The congress said, “Absolutely,” but he implied that with America being the richest country in the world that the poor here are better off than those in the more impoverished countries.
“If you go to India or you go to any number of other Third World countries, you have two problems,” Issa said. “You have greater inequality of income and wealth. You also have less opportunity for people to rise from the have not to the have.”
Issa is the richest member of Congress, with a net worth of $448.4 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Economic mobility, however, in the US has been stagnant for half a century, according to a report by the Equality of Opportunity Project headed by Harvard economist Raj Chetty.
The same report found that it’s harder for a poor child in America to climb out of poverty compared to other wealthy nations such as Canada or Denmark.
Reactions on social media to Issa’s comments were swift, criticizing the congressman for unfavorable comparing to India and other developing nations.
“America’ wealthiest politician says America’s poor are “envy of the world”. Proving he’s morally bankrupt,” Sam Bonfante tweeted.
“Darrell Issa claims the world “envies the American poor”. Always nice to hear from a billionaire how fortunate we poor folk are,” @NoThoughtsHere tweeted.
Journalist Jonathan Katz fact-check Issa and found that India has better income equality than the US.
“Slight problem with @DarrellIssa’s argument: India has less income inequality than the United States,” he tweeted.
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