Barack Obama's first budget is, above all, an attempt to shrink the gap between rich and poor that has grown rapidly for 30 years, writes David Leonhardt of the New York Times. The "bold, even radical" budget hikes taxes on the rich while dropping them to their lowest point in decades for lower-income Americans. Its also plows money into health care and education, where inequities have drained money from the middle class.
Income inequality plummeted after World War II and began to expand again in 1980, when Ronald Reagan came to power. Since then, the top 1% of households have seen their average post-tax income jump by $1 million, adjusted for inflation. Obama's budget will likely cost them $100,000 a year in new taxes—if, that is, "Congress will pass a budget that looks anything like his."