Yawning inequities have hamstrung American social and economic mobility, eroding the living standards of the middle class. Weaving modest policy proposals through the tiny spaces allowed by the nation's partisan stalemate — President Barack Obama's strategy — is unlikely to bear much fruit. A better strategy might be to articulate — forcefully — the nature of the problem and build a political consensus that would ultimately lead to long-delayed changes to American society. It could go something like this: The United States remains among the richest countries in the world in national income per person. Yet despite its riches, in many areas the United States looks surprisingly, depressingly backward. There is reason to believe that a more forceful campaign against inequality than Obama has articulated so far would resonate. The United States is a rich country. Perhaps someday soon it will start behaving like one.
© 2013 New York Times