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Reclaiming American Greatness

Summary:
After nearly four years of US President Donald Trump and the Republicans undermining the state and looting the public purse, it is no wonder that the country was so unprepared for the COVID-19 crisis. America’s best hope now lies with Joe Biden, whose greatest strength is his potential to reunify a divided populace. NEW YORK – Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake, a young black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was shot seven times in the back by police, got it right when she said, “America is great when we behave greatly.” Sadly, for the past four years, President Donald Trump has been leading America in the exact opposite direction. The country’s entire history seems to be on the line when Trump faces the voters

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After nearly four years of US President Donald Trump and the Republicans undermining the state and looting the public purse, it is no wonder that the country was so unprepared for the COVID-19 crisis. America’s best hope now lies with Joe Biden, whose greatest strength is his potential to reunify a divided populace.

NEW YORK – Julia Jackson, the mother of Jacob Blake, a young black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was shot seven times in the back by police, got it right when she said, “America is great when we behave greatly.” Sadly, for the past four years, President Donald Trump has been leading America in the exact opposite direction.

The country’s entire history seems to be on the line when Trump faces the voters again on November 3. It has been 160 years since the United States tried to deal with its “original sin” of African slavery. On that occasion, President Abraham Lincoln famously warned that, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Yet, under Trump, all of America’s divisions have been widened.

Reclaiming American Greatness

It comes as no surprise that the rich have gotten richer under Trump, given that he tends to judge overall economic performance on the basis of the stock market, where the richest 10% of Americans own 92% of shares. While equity prices have continued to reach new heights, so, too, has US underemployment and joblessness. Some 30 million US residents currently live in households without enough food, and most of those in the bottom half of the income distribution are living paycheck to paycheck. In a country already riven with deepening inequalities, Trump’s Republicans have not only cut taxes for billionaires and corporations but also implemented policies that will lead to higher tax rates for the vast majority of those in the middle.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., pointed out over a half-century ago, racial and economic injustice are inseparable issues in America. I was there for the March on Washington 57 years ago, when King delivered his heart-rending “I Have a Dream” speech, and we sang, “We shall overcome someday.” As a naive 20-year-old, I could not conceive that someday would lie so far off, that, after a short period of progress, the pursuit of racial and economic justice would stall.

Joseph E. Stiglitz
The official account of Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia University.

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