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The President’s To Do List

I believe that To Do lists are an art form. There’s nothing more beautiful than a list of things you need to get done with every single item crossed off of it. Crossing off an action item gives me such a sense of accomplishment that I usually put things I’ve already done on the list, just to cross them off.

In a major speech yesterday about economic mobility, President Obama shared one of his To Do lists with us. The items on this list are much more important than the ones on my usual lists. These items are the legislative and administrative priorities that will help fix the growing problem of income inequality in the United States.

Before sharing his “roadmap” with us, the President started with a reality check. He was blunt about the fact that our economy has become profoundly unequal and families have become more insecure. He drove home the point that we are living in a country that once promised success for those who worked hard, but is now faced with rapidly rising inequality and decreasing upward mobility in a way that “challenges the essence of who we are as a people.” Each fall NWLC analyzes the poverty data put out by the Census bureau, and those sobering statistics illustrate exactly what the President is talking about. I couldn’t agree more with the President when he said that these trends are bad for families, bad for the economy, bad for social cohesion, and bad for democracy.

President Obama recognized that the outcomes of the budget debates we’re having right now will have real practical implications for every American, and that “the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.”

Here is where the To Do list comes in. President Obama used the last part of his speech to enumerate the things that should be priorities for Congress and his administration in order to combat inequality. Here are just some of the items on his list that will expand opportunities and fairness for women and their families and are priorities for us at NWLC:

President Obama’s To Do List

___ Simplify the corporate tax code and end incentives to ship jobs overseas

___ Advance a responsible budget that grows the economy while shrinking long-term deficits

___ End the sequester cuts

___ Make high-quality preschool available to every child in America

___ Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to fight pay discrimination

___ Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

___ Raise the minimum wage (because people who work their tails off shouldn’t live in poverty)

___ Strengthen safety net programs that keep people out of poverty – like Social Security

___ Extend federal unemployment insurance benefits for long-term unemployed workers

___ Fully implement the Affordable Care Act

Yes, it’s ambitious. It won’t be as easy to cross these things of the list as it is to cross “Pick up dry cleaning” off my To Do list. But it’s definitely the most important To Do list out there.

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