President Barack Obama announced he will “not stand still” in combating America’s growing income inequality gap during his State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
“Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled,” Obama said before a joint session of congress.
If Congress does not act to fight the problem, Obama said he will use the executive actions within his power to move the issue forward.
He also detailed other issues on the White House’s policy agenda for the coming year, reiterating his commitment to the economy, early education, health care, gun control, foreign policy and equal pay for women.
He also said that the White House is working toward making college education more affordable for students.
“We’re shaking up our value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education,” Obama said. “We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt.”
Obama asked congress to revisit immigration reform, making a bipartisan call to reform the nation’s immigration system this year.
“Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades,” Obama said. “When people come here to fulfill their dreams- to study, invent, and contribute to our culture- they make our country a more attractive place for business to locate and create jobs for everyone.”
However, the political climate surrounding the president’s agenda is “poisonous,”
according to Dr. Thomas Holyoke, a Fresno State political science professor.
“There’s just a lot of bad blood there to the extent that a lot of this has become personal,” Holyoke said. “In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing such a poor relationship between a president and the opposition party in Congress as this one.”
Because of that, this State of the Union Address may have little effect on legislation, Holyoke said.