23 January 2013

Kenya: Both Obama, Kenya Must Fight Inequality


PRESIDENT Barack Obama made a stirring plea for social justice in his inauguration speech for his second term as US president.

He indicated that he would persevere with his healthcare reforms, overhaul the tax code, and improve education for all.

He emphasised that taking care of the weaker members of society would not weaken the entrepreneurial spirit of the USA, rather it it would provide a safety net that would encourage risk taking by Americans.

Obama's first term was a disappointment to his supporters. He appeared too ready to compromise.

Now he has restated his ideals and does not need to seek re-election. He should be emboldened to actively implement his electoral promises.

Whether that happens or not, we will see over the next four years. But what is great is that this is a fundamental issue in American politics, specifically as defined by the debate over how heavily to tax the super-rich.

Growing inequality between rich and poor is as fundamental a problem in Kenya as it is in America. Extreme income inequality corrodes society and increases the incidence of violence, ethnic tension, corruption, and other social ills. Yet it is barely being discussed during this election campaign. That is a tragedy in itself.

Quote of the day: "Every man is an artist." - German avant-garde artist Joseph Beuys died on January 23, 1986

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