The following is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Obama’s Challenge by Robert Kuttner; it was posted on AlterNet.
When Barack Obama takes office as America’s forty-fourth president, he will face an acute, three-pronged economic challenge. The financial system will be in crisis to a greater degree than at any time since 1933. America’s international imbalances will be on a worsening downward slide. And the economy will be in a deepening recession supercharged by falling consumer purchasing power, declining housing values, and cascading business losses.
In addition, he faces four chronic problems that recession will only intensify. The recession will exacerbate a thirty-year trend of increasing inequality and insecurity. The crisis in energy and climate change will be deepening; the unreliability and cost of health care will be relentlessly worsening. The decay of America’s public spaces and facilities will persist. All of this will require a more activist use of government than we’ve seen in at least four decades.
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