Sort by
In the media

What Obama Didn't Say

Lew Daly

As President Obama takes office, and the nation reflects on the historic moment and its significance, Demos Senior Fellows John Schwarz and Lew Daly remind us that America is more than just “common blood, or race, or ethnic background or religion.” America is about freedom, they argue, and its up to government to help establish the conditions for economic independence that have become central to the ideals of American freedom.

For these great leaders, the economic independence of individuals and the security of that independence lay at the center of the meaning of freedom. If individuals were unable to provide a dignified and secure living through their efforts, or if they could not get a fair return from their work when they did more and produced more, or if they came under the will of another person to make a living without having other readily available alternatives to support themselves, then they were neither truly independent nor truly free. It was the appropriate role of government to help assure the necessary conditions, utilizing ways that neither tax nor regulate more than would be required to attain the appropriate end.