For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.While I'm sure the assertion will be widely debated, I think it frames an important issue, the stark economic inequalities of our time. We see an economy in which there is 10% unemployment but the stock market is riding high with the Dow Jones at over 11,000.
This disconnect is not healthy. America's middle class needs to be revived and it needs leaders who will represent and defend its interests. Instead, we've had the rise of the Tea Party whose reactionary zeal threatens not only our economic sensibilities but even more fundamental institutions such as religious freedom.
Astonishingly, the Democratic party seems unable to articulate a coherent response. Yet there could be no simpler strategy than to reaffirm our tradition of civil, religious and economic liberties that made this nation great.
In the interim, it is important for us all to do what we can to be more neighborly, to extend a helping hand to each other to show the kind of individual leadership that builds communities and societies.
The healthcare bill has important reform that went just short of what it could have been. Nevertheless, if Leonhardt is right, it will probably be the most important thing Obama has done in his presidency to date.