When he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) -- the economic stimulus package -- President Barack Obama promised it would "begin the process of restoring the economy and making America a stronger and more prosperous nation." The act invests some $787 billion in unemployment assistance, tax cuts, support to cash-strapped state governments, job creation, job training, education, and infrastructure.
Our nation, at its best, pursues the ideal that what we look like and where we come from should not determine the benefits, burdens, or responsibilities that we bear in our society. Because we believe that all people are created equal in terms of rights, dignity, and the potential to achieve great things, we see inequality based on race, gender, and other social characteristics as not only unfortunate but unjust. The value of equality, democratic voice, physical and economic security, social mobility, a shared sense of responsibility for one another, and a chance to start over after misfortune or missteps -- what many Americans call redemption -- are the moral pillars of the American ideal of opportunity.