The third goal, the “escalator,” is perhaps the most radical. To address continuing income inequality, liberal thinkers propose sweeping redistributions plans. One is to increase the earned income tax credit so that it becomes a government wage subsidy for everyone who makes up to $80,000 a year.

“Another approach,” writes Konczal, “would create an unconditional basic income that rises with GDP growth. The proposal gives every legal resident a cash stipend, usually targeted around the poverty level. This income is universal, so everyone gets it regardless of their income or work status, and it is unconditional.”…

The bottom line is not that Obama will pursue all these policies, nor that Congress will enact them. But there’s little doubt the president’s liberal supporters, and Obama himself, would like to push the nation in that direction. And in cases where there is no chance Congress would pass a particular measure, Obama might be able to use his executive authority to achieve at least part of his goal.