NEW YORK, July 14 (UPI) -- John Oliver argued that income inequality is encouraged by "American optimism" and hard work won't make you rich on his show Last Week Tonight.
The issue of the growing wealth gap has been deemed a top priority priority by the Obama administration for the remainder of the term. President Obama has made several speeches regarding the issue and Democrats jumped on the initial fervor.
"You better watch your ass income inequality, because you are about to be violently ameliorated," said Oliver.
Since the administration's retreat on the issue, the top 1 percent of Americans now make almost 20 percent of all the income. He said the reason for the increasing rate is caused by the United States' "greatest quality" turned bad: American optimism.
"You would think in a democracy, policies that benefit very few people at the expense of very many would not be able to succeed, but they have. I think the reason for that may lie somewhere in America's greatest quality: optimism," he said.
The idea that those who work hard will always progress in wealth is false said Oliver. Though Americans realize the economic system favors the wealthy, 60 percent still believe they can advance purely through hard work.
"That optimism is one of the things I love about this country ... but it leads you to act against your own best interest."