Obama: GOP Congress Wants To "Accelerate" Trend Of Income Inequality

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GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, but you do all these things and still, 95% of the gains go to the top 1%. Do you look at that, four and a half years in, and say, “Maybe a president just can’t stop this accelerating inequality?”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: No, I think– I think the president can stop it. I– the problem is that– there– continues to be a major debate here in Washington. And that is: How do we respond to these underlying trends? If– if you look at– at– at the data– couple of things are– are– are creating these trends.

Number one, globalization. Right? Capital, companies, they can move businesses and– and jobs– anywhere they want. And so they’re lookin’ for the lowest wages. That squeezes workers here in the United States, even if corporations are profitable. Technology. If you go to– a lot of companies now, they’ve eliminated entire occupations because they’re now robotized. We don’t have travel agents. We don’t have bank tellers.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s bigger than Washington.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right. So– so there– there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s happening in the marketplace. But if we have policies that make sure that– our kids are prepared for higher skilled jobs, if we have policies that make sure that we’re rebuilding our infrastructure, ’cause a robot can’t– build a road– and we need– you know, new ports and a smarter electricity grid, if we’re making investments– to make sure that– research and development continues to happen here, if we have– tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States as opposed to overseas, all those things can make the situation better.

It doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but it pushes against these trends. And the problem that we’ve got right now is you’ve got a portion of– Congress who– whose policies don’t just– wanna– you know, leave things alone, they actually wanna accelerate these trends.

There’s no serious economist out there that would suggest that, if you took the Republican agenda of slashing education further, slashing Medicare further, slashing research and development further, slashing investments in infrastructure further, that that would reverse some of these trends of inequality.

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