Americans are not poor due to an income gap or rising income inequality—that rate has been fairly stable over the years (also the poverty stats don’t count all the 79 means tested programs).
Here's the research, Mr. President. It's behavior and choice. People aren't poor because others are rich.
"If you do these [four] things, it’s almost impossible to remain poor:
1. Finish high school,
2. Get a job,
3. Don’t have children until you get married.
Those who do these things have only a 2 percent probability of remaining in poverty and a 75 percent probability of joining the middle class." John Goodman
The only new idea the left seems to have is universal preschool. (They don’t know how to reform any existing programs, so why not throw money after one more?) But the more common tactic (e.g., Paul Krugman) is to use inequality as an excuse for enacting the traditional liberal agenda — deficit spending, minimum wage increase, more unemployment compensation. If you think any of that is going to solve the fundamental problem, I know a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale.
Remember welfare reform of the mid-90s? Even a job, any job, reduces the poverty rate. Wealth transfer doesn’t solve poverty.
"The poverty rate among full time workers is 2.9 percent as compared with a poverty rate of 16.6 percent among those working less than full time and about 24 percent for those who don’t work. Unfortunately, the percentage of adult males working has been declining for decades. The work rate among young black males is below 50 percent. By contrast, when single mothers substantially increased their work rates in the mid-1990s, the poverty rate among mother-headed families reached its lowest level ever.. .
We already spend more than enough money on means-tested programs for poor and low-income people to bring them all out of poverty. There were about 46.5 million people in poverty in 2012, a year in which spending on means-tested programs was around $1 trillion. If that money were divided up among the poor, we could spend about $22,000 per person. For a single mother and two children, that would be over $65,000. The poverty level in 2013 for a mother and two children is less than $20,000. So this strategy would work, but giving so much money to young, able-bodied adults would not be tolerated by the public. Besides, if government gave this much cash to non-workers, many low-wage workers would quit work so they too could collect welfare.”