For Obama, Social Equality Will Come Easier Than Economic Equality
nationaljournal.com — Equality was the North Star in President Obama’s confident and ambitious Inaugural Address this week. But the speech defined the idea around two distinct poles, and his path to progress is much clearer on one than the other. In his first words, Obama reached back to the Declaration of Independence to anoint as America’s founding and most foundational conviction the belief “that all men are created equal.” The heart of what followed was his argument that this timeless principle contains both an economic and a social dimension—and that collective action through government is essential to realizing both. In essence, Obama argued that fidelity to America’s founding beliefs requires a widening circle of economic opportunity and social tolerance. When Obama defined equality as widening social tolerance, he had the wind of history at his back. The president’s prospects are much murkier on the other dimension of the challenge that he identified, expanding economic opportunity and reversing inequality.