Barack Obama
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Obama promises income equality in State of Union address

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has set the stage for a high-income tax fight with the Republican-controlled Congress in his final year in office.

President Obama gave his final State of the Union address in Congress on Wednesday, Australian time, appealing to middle America with promises to rebalance income inequality.

Mr Obama told Congress it was time to "turn the page" on the global financial crisis, acknowledging the economic troubles, but saying the "shadow of crisis has passed".

He proposed more than US$320 billion in tax increases over a decade, to pay for education, two years of free community college and other efforts to redistribute America's wealth.

"Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?" he challenged the Republican Congress.

But Republican Senator for Iowa Joni Ernst's official remarks showed the Congress was likely to fight any major changes.

In her comments in the official Republican response, she said the Congress should "iron out" tax loopholes, but "not pay for more government spending".

Mr Obama also talked about his urgency to address climate change, efforts to extend the campaign against the Islamic State and fast-track trade deals in Asia.



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