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Obama talks economic inequality

President Obama looks to promote economic proposals designed to alleviate blight in some of the nation’s poorest communities at an event Thursday at the White House, according to a source familiar with the planning.

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The president’s remarks are designed to highlight his call to designate so-called “Promise Zones,” where the federal government would provide tax incentives, housing assistance and education grants to fight persistent poverty. The remarks come amid a broader populist push by the White House ahead of the Jan. 28 State of the Union address.

White House officials have said Obama plans to lay out his ideas for addressing economic inequality and diminishing upward mobility in that speech, and the president appears to be systematically previewing his proposals in the weeks preceding the State of the Union.

Before leaving for his holiday vacation in Hawaii, Obama pushed Congress to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. On Tuesday, the president will call on Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance for 1.3 million Americans at an event in the East Room of the White House.

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