According to CNBC:
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Barack Obama plans to put forth a plan to try to slow the widening gap between the richest and poorest Americans.
Widely seen as a nonstarter among the Republicans who now control Congress, the proposal targets the lingering financial setbacks inflicted by the Great Recession on all but the wealthiest American households. Even as the unemployment rate has fallen and the overall economy picked up steam, the wage gap between the richest and poorest continues to widen.
That disparity in wealth distribution was underway long before the financial crisis of 2008 sparked a global downturn. Between 1979 and 2011, the average after-tax income for the bottom 20 percent of U.S. households rose by 48 percent, according to Congressional Budget Office data. The top 1 percent saw their incomes rise by 200 percent during the same period.
The White House is proposing to use changes in the U.S. tax code to slow or reverse that trend. A key provision would close an inheritance tax loophole that benefits the wealthiest Americans the most. After raising those taxes, the plan would use the money to give middle-class families a tax break for expenses such as education and child care.
These plans will likely require increased spending from the US federal government, which can be achieved in a number ways. The most likely would be an increase in taxes on the wealthiest Americans, as Obama has stated, but the program could also be augmented by quantitative easing.