Immediately after he was inaugurated six years ago today, President Obama started passing measures to help revive the economy -- over Republican opposition: the Recovery Act, the auto rescue, and significant investments in our education system. His opponents and their allies predicted that his policies would lead to further economic disaster, but they were wrong.
The U.S. is caught in a vicious circle: rising income inequality breeds more inequality in educational opportunity, which generates greater inequality in educational attainment. That, in turn, translates into a waste of human talent, a less educated workforce, slower economic growth and even greater income inequality.
If the Republican Party takes full control of the U.S. Congress in the midterm election, policy gridlock is likely to worsen, risking a rerun of the damaging fiscal battles that led last year to a government shutdown and almost to a technical debt default. More broadly, the gridlock will prevent the passage of important structural reforms that the U.S. needs to boost growth.