Books on Barack Obama are proliferating. Recent additions include biographies, political analyses, a look into Obama's African family tree, books on his handling of specific issues and books on race and politics in American society. Among these, James Kloppenberg's intellectual contextualization stands out.
This week, a former Google
executive asked President Obama to raise his taxes so that more people will
have the chance to succeed as he has. It was nice to hear the president defend
the idea that individual wealth is built in part by collective investment--even if he didn't state it as forcefully as Elizabeth Warren, and even if he mostly
avoided the word "taxes" itself.
"Constantinian" has lately been a favored pejorative in
theological circles. The term--an allusion to the fourth-century Roman emperor
whose conversion to Christianity turned a marginal sect into a state religion--has
been used to deplore any alliance between the church and the state or, more
broadly, between the church and the dominant political culture.
Candidate John F. Kennedy: If
the time should ever come--and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely
possible--when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or
violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.
The attention given to the extreme and increasing wealth of the top 1 percent can be misleading. It glosses over the fact that the people just below them—those in the 81st to 99th percentile—are also gaining wealth much faster than other sectors, pulling away from the middle-class people below them. The focus on the top 1 percent gives those other members of the upper class the illusion that they’re in the same economic boat as the population below them when they are not (Brookings, September 10).