President Obama will discuss the “twin challenges of growing income inequality and shrinking economic mobility” in an address on Wednesday that will highlight his second-term economic priorities, according to the White House.
“The speech will provide a window into where the president will focus his energies over the next three years, and it is certainly a topic he will touch on in next year’s State of the Union address,” a White House official said Tuesday.
Obama’s speech at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, will address how the income gap and limited mobility “pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream.”
“The president has said that this is the defining issue of our time – making sure our economy works for every working American—and that the decisions we make over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where if you work hard, you can get ahead,” said the official.
“In his remarks, the president will discuss the steps he has taken to help reverse these trends, restore mobility and increase economic security for every American, including the economic benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” the official added. “He will also offer a robust argument for further steps, like raising the minimum wage, that we should take as a nation in the near future.”
The speech marks Obama’s latest effort to pivot the nation’s attention back to the economy, amid the troubled rollout of his health care reform law.
The administration has been distracted and on the defensive for the last two months as it struggles to repair technical glitches marring the healthcare.gov website and prevent millions of Americans from losing their insurance plans. Thanks to the botched Obamacare rollout, Obama has sunk to his lowest approval ratings, and the White House has been unable to move forward on a host of other second-term priorities.
Obama has delivered a number of addresses urging Congress to pass jobs legislation and more infrastructure spending and redirect attention to the economy.
In November, Obama spoke at the Port of New Orleans, where he called on lawmakers to spend more on infrastructure improvements he said would boost exports. And during a West Coast swing he spoke at the DreamWorks animation studio in southern California, touting the entertainment sector as one of the “bright spots” in the nation’s economy.