What Does "On the Cheap" Mean, Mr. President?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: May 21, 2009 5:46 PM
There was another element of the story that Jillian linked  immediately below that merits some comment:

The son of a white mother and black father, Obama said his election does not solve America's racial challenges.

"Solving our racial problems in this country will require concrete steps, significant investment," he said. "We have a lot of work to do to overcome the long legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. It can't be purchased on the cheap.

It's not quite clear to me what the President means by "on the cheap."  Since Americans made the entirely correct and morally necessary decision to try to eradicate every vestige of slavery and racial discrimination, billions -- if not trillions -- of dollars have been spent on everything from public aid to education in order to realize that goal.  "On the cheap" is just out of the ballpark -- unless one is talking about spending whatever sums are necessary to obtain equality of result, rather than seeking to maximize opportunity (and on that score, the President might want to look to himself).

It might be worth someone asking the President what kind of "concrete steps" and "significant investment" he has in mind.  Reparations, perhaps?  More government spending? (Definitely).