Barack Obama will face a crippled economy if he wins in November, but what fiscal policies will he put to use? “My core economic theory is pragmatism,” says Obama, a liberal who picked up free market notions when teaching at the University of Chicago. His policies on health care, emissions caps, and Wall Street oversight convey that balance. Then—and here conservatives really shudder—comes plans to tax the rich.
After tax cuts for the middle class, Obama would slam the wealthiest Americans by an average of $800,000 a year. But, writes David Leonhardt in the New York Times, that only balances the Bush tax cut and recent gains for the rich—and will redistribute wealth while keeping the deficit down. Obama's task is to sell this story to a nation wedded to the free market dream. "Telling it elegantly the way Republicans have," Obama says, "I think is more of a challenge."