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Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 12:17 am

Editor's note 10/13/16

Americans discouraged by the presidential campaign should read President Barack Obama’s essay, “The way ahead,” in the latest issue of The Economist. “Why have some on the far left and even more on the rar right embraced a crude populism that promises a return to a past that is not possible to restore – and that, for most Americans, never existed at all?” he asks. Some of the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee fears have come up in numerous historical eras. “We overcame those fears and we will again.” Then he offers a recipe for dealing with four economic structural problems: “boosting productivity growth, combating rising inequality, ensuring that everyone who wants a job can get one and building a resilient economy that’s primed for future growth.” Obama addresses each of these at length. On income inequality, he quotes Abraham Lincoln: “While we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.” His remedies include raising the minimum wage, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, limiting tax breaks for high-income households and assuring women equal pay for equal work. For those who say Obama should have done these things before his time was up, he wisely remarks, “The presidency is a relay race,” requiring his successor to take up the effort “to bring the country closer to its highest aspirations.” –Fletcher Farrar, editor and publisher


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