Wobbly nationalistic middle classes are not to be underestimated as political forces. They tend to have a stronger sense of their own importance than lower social classes, which explains why the spectacular global growth in incomes of the bottom 50 percent seems to have so little direct political valence, however huge it is in terms of how well humanity lives. Middle classes in more authoritarian states like China might indeed make even stronger demands, as a class, than in democracies, since their ascendance under "state capitalism" could lead to greater expectations of the state. One can imagine income inequality becoming a genuinely strategic question.
Yes, we are still talking about women receiving equal pay in 2015. While there are several factors that contribute to this discrimination, one that comes to mind is an old, but not fully abolished legal practice known as coverture
Members of Congress, don't just say you support equal pay and then use gridlock as an excuse for continued inaction. It's time to walk the walk. Seize this broad public and political support as an opportunity to come together and move forward on one of the most fundamental economic issues of our time. Families are tired of waiting.
Let's hope Obama starts re-connecting the two issues -- environment and economy -- so that the public and policy makers on both sides of the aisle get used to dealing frankly with the trade-off.
This particular SOTU kicked off what I imagine will be a life-long campaign to shape the country according to his values, and he's decided to start building momentum now, for a life-long campaign for change once he leaves the White House.
The New York Times reported last week that in the closed-door Republican Senate Caucus retreat, Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell "encouraged the Republican troops to refocus policy on the stagnant middle class." That would be like asking the wolves of the world to stop hunting and refocus on cultivating asparagus.
Obama's push to tackle income inequality provides any Democratic nominee with a central organizing theme and policy purpose. It also challenges any Republican nominee to either reject government action in that direction, alienating the strong majority of Americans who favor it--or embrace such government action, alienating the Republican base.
One very encouraging proposal in President Obama's recent State of the Union is the commitment to greater federal investment in biomedical research, including precision medicine and genomics research.
During his State of the Union address the President of the United States made several specific references to the state of our technology. The problem is that no one can agree on how this might be achieved.
Not everyone is aware of the consequences that a quick up-or-down vote on the 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal will bring. It will devastate not only wage earners, but their families as well.
Now, with a Congress fully in the hands of a Republican Party increasingly dominated by its right wing, he can make all the ringing proclamations he wants to about taxing the rich to help the middle class.
The presidential game is as inevitable as the Super Bowl, filled with inflated egos, too much money and incentive to "cheat," too much hype, and inevitably leaves half the audience feeling deflated.
After Obama's popular SOTU agenda to "I won twice," Matalin and Corn debate if he will shape the next two years or 10 with his framework of An Economy for All. Sure looks like he has already now that McConnell and Romney agree the rich have gotten richer at the expense of the poor! Is Boehner-Bibi payback for Speaker forced to sit glumly for an hour?
The president's proposal is fantastic, really. But this is not enough. Helping workers to invest these accumulated assets and then to withdraw sensibly at retirement are two other big problems, which the president didn't touch.
It's deeply reassuring when our president shows how he is paying attention. Remembering. And his numbers don't lie. Barack Obama continues to lead us away from the Great Republican Recession.
This week we learned that the State of the Union is [spoiler alert] "strong." Asserting that "the shadow of crisis has passed," President Obama decried growing inequality and laid out a vision of growth for the middle class -- which he mentioned seven times. Proposals included higher minimum wage, child tax credits, and free community college. Unanswered was why he didn't do this back in the days of bipartisan belt-tightening, which extended the decline of the middle class. Meanwhile, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, mindfulness was on many minds -- sessions on the practice, which attendees once rolled their eyes at, were standing room only this year. Click here to read and watch all our Davos coverage.