President Obama has a rough road ahead if he plans to push for policies requiring a collective movement against inequality, says Thomas Edsall in a recent New York Times op-ed.
In a speech earlier this month, Obama discussed government efforts to counter inequality, but stressed the importance of community efforts:
I've never believed that government can solve every problem or should — and neither do you. We know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people — individuals out there, striving, working, making things happen.
Edsall says Obama's use of liberal ideological terms could hurt his effort to bring the country together on the issue.
"This bifurcation — conservative in theory, liberal in practice — suggests that by using broad terms with liberal ideological connotations like 'inequality,' 'more widely shared' growth and 'decreased mobility,' Obama risks activating voters' 'theoretical' conservatism, as opposed to a strategy that stresses specifics in non-ideological terms, a kind of practical liberalism: raising the minimum wage, raising tax rates on unearned income, job training, early education," he writes.
We'll dig into recent polls to get a picture of the national climate, particularly working class people who would most likely benefit from redistributive policies. Why are many Americans reacting to severe inequality by becoming more individualistic?