By Kristine Bearss
President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address on Jan. 28. The overarching message of his speech was to address the concerns in our country about income inequality.
He said, “Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”
Just more than two weeks later, Obama gave another speech on the horrors of income inequality and proceeded to sign his 170th executive order passing a raise on the minimum wage for federal contractors.
The night before Obama passed this executive order, under the premise of fighting income inequality, the Obamas hosted an official state dinner for French President François Hollande. The White House released the menu for the state dinner, and the food was something one might find at an upscale dining establishment. The first course featured American Osetra caviar and quail eggs. The second course was a Merlot lettuce salad followed by a main course of dry-aged rib eye beef, shallots and oysters. Finally, for dessert they had Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache.
The whole meal was estimated to be around 2,500 calories — more than what the average American eats in a day.
“Even if you’re estimating a small cut of steak, this is a menu where you’re talking 2,500 calories, which is almost three times as much as what the First Lady and the USDA allow our school kids to eat in the school lunch program,” Illinois Representative Rodney Davis said to the Washington Times.
The dinner menu was actually one of the least controversial moves made that evening.
Michelle Obama wore a designer Carolina Herrera gown that Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn estimated to cost around $12,000.
CSNS News observed that the cost of the First Lady’s dress is more than the worldwide average annual household income of $9,733. When asked to respond to this, student Miracle Jenkins said, “As the first lady, what do we expect her to wear? […] There was a time in American culture when a simple 10k dress […] wasn’t a launching point for criticism.” But when asked if he had the same opinion on Ann Romney when she wore a $900.00 tee shirt to an interview, he responded, “No, for the same reason. Additionally, one could counter with the fact Obama doesn’t give to charity.”
“If you’d have asked me about my feelings towards it during the campaign I would not have, you’re right, and not just because I like Obama. […] After thinking about it now, faced with these facts, i conclude that your clothes can be a statement but you can also draw something from it.”
“So now, I’d have to say that the media is reaching, but they do bring up a startling fact concerning the gap in wealth. Its obviously horrible that [the First Lady of the United States] has a dress worth more than the multitude of households on earth.”
Another student, Cole McDaniels also raised a different point. He said, “The media really could spin this both ways, but if Obama is really concerned with income inequality then maybe he should live by his own morals.” To put it into perspective, Michelle Obama’s dress cost around the same price that the average Roosevelt student spends for their on campus food plan each semester.
Generally speaking, Roosevelt students did not seem to care that Mrs.Obama wore such an elegant an expensive dress; nor did they care that the meal was so extravagant.
The issue seemed to lean on the fact that the dinner with the President of France was held to discuss how they would fight income inequality globally.
Since Roosevelt is such a proponent for the same cause, it seemed to hit home when they thought about how the message did not seem to fit the cause.