Income inequality was a major theme in President Obama’s State Of The Union address last night. As I wrote yesterday, the fact that politicians are now openly talking about class in America, a country almost absurdly proud of the fact that its citizens don’t discuss class relations, is a major triumph of Occupy Wall Street and other economic disparity-focused groups.
Obama called economic fairness “the defining issue of our time,” adding that “we can settle for a country where a shrinking numbers of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
That message of fairness has been at the heart of OWS since day one, and the widespread uprisings provided a framework in which the president could finally get specific about his proposal for a “Buffett Rule”:
a requirement that anyone making more than $1 million a year pay no less than 30 percent in taxes. And, he added, anyone making less than $250,000 a year – the case for 98 percent of American families – should not see a tax increase.