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State of the Union: Inequality Pushes World Toward Disaster

Released: 28-Jan-2014 2:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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President Barack Obama is expected to focus on income inequality in his State of the Union address tonight. Three Cornell University experts on income inequality are available for media commentary about the President’s speech.

Thomas Hirschl, professor of development sociology and co-author of the soon-to-be-released book, “Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes.” His work was referenced by President Obama in a December, 2013 speech about economic mobility. He talks about the need for President Obama to address growing and widespread income inequality in his State of the Union address today.

Hirschl says:

“My hope is that Obama recognizes rising inequality as a fundamental social process that is pushing the world toward disaster – and that he proposes to stop it now with new ideas about how society can be organized around public goods.

“For example, the energy resources of this country should be nationalized and regulated to protect the environment, with the wealth from energy extraction dedicated toward the benefit of the majority, and not primarily the owners of the energy corporations.”

Additional experts available tonight and tomorrow morning include:

Seth Harris, Cornell ILR School Distinguished Scholar. Harris served from 2009-14 at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he was deputy secretary and acting secretary. He also served in the Department of Labor during the Clinton administration.

Elizabeth Sanders, professor of Government and an expert in American political development and popular politics. She is the author of “Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877-1917”

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