President Barack Obama said Sunday that Republicans in Congress are pushing policies to “accelerate" the trends that lead to income inequality.
Obama told ABC News host George Stephanopolous in an interview that 95 percent of the income gains since the Great Recession have gone to the top 1 percent of Americans, citing a recent report from economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty.
“Maybe a president just can’t stop this accelerating inequality,” Stephanopolous said.
“No, I think the president can stop it,” Obama replied. “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?”
Obama noted several ways he could push back against these trends. He said policies educating young people for higher-skilled positions, providing work through rebuilding infrastructure, and giving companies tax breaks for research and development are all ways to counter income inequality.
“All those things can make the situation better, it doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but it pushes against these trends,” he said. “And the problem that we’ve got right now is you’ve got a portion of Congress whose policies don’t just want to leave things alone, they actually want to accelerate these trends.”
He added that GOP budget cuts are all in line with widening the gap between rich and poor.
“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.”