Fmr. Obama Adviser: Focus on US Inequality in Election-Year SOTU Has Occupy Wall Street’s Imprint

In his last State of the Union speech before the November election, President Obama defended his record addressing the financial crisis and called for greater economic fairness. He warned that Wall Street would no longer be allowed to play by its own set of rules. But the bulk of the speech dealt with the economy. We get reaction from Jared Bernstein, former chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and past member of President Obama’s economic team. Bernstein says that Occupy Wall Street “had a lot to do with” Obama’s message of economic fairness: “These issues, I mean, they’re called populist now. Frankly, I think they’re just basic fairness. I don’t know why it’s populist to argue that middle-class people should pay a fair tax rate and one that’s certainly no higher than that paid by millionaires and billionaires, or for that matter, that economic growth should not be a spectator sport for people in the middle class. [These ideas] haven’t broken through in the way that Occupy Wall Street did in a matter of months. So I give them a ton of credit.”

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