The truth is that, as every Republican president in the modern era has acknowledged de facto, when times are tough, it's better for the government to engage in deficit spending than to choke off a recovery.
Its most graphic evidence is how much of our productivity surge has not been returned to those who created such wealth since the 1970s. That was when the philosophy of "government is the problem" took hold. A coincidence? Hardly.
The so-called "rags to riches" stories remain popular in the American imagination because they mesh well with other cherished aspects of our national identity. If these ideals were ever true, however, in 2012 they must be recognized as myths.
Will the Democrats speak for the people? Will they fill Clint Eastwood's empty chair with human beings of passion and dedication? Or will they pursue a false "centrism," cheating the country of the debate it so desperately needs?
Wealth inequality is bad for democracy, bad for our future as a nation, and bad for our ability to solve serious problems on national and international levels. Democracy works best when we have strong institutions of civil society and when all stakeholders are involved in decisions.
The prohibitive cost of medication has forced thousands of HIV-positive Americans who need treatment to wait, or be turned down altogether -- despite the fact that we know antiretroviral therapy saves lives.