When it comes to the issues, no-one is better informed or more willing to find common ground than the president. But there’s a yawning chasm between government’s duty to deal with the country’s macro-economic condition and its obligation to address the plight of ordinary Americans at a time of financial peril.

It is hard to sell bailouts for banks and industries to voters struggling with foreclosure, inadequate health care and limited job opportunities. Especially infuriating, large salaries and bonuses are still shamelessly the order of the day at financial institutions that continue to operate at the limits of responsible business procedures. It is often said, taxpayers have assumed all the risk while companies gobble up the profits.

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