J. Scott Applewhite, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Our take: President Obama gave a statement of equality in his second inaugural. But Ben W. Heineman Jr. in a column for The Atlantic wished that Obama had focused more on how the progressive movement is founded on economic growth.
The commentariat has already reached a consensus: In his second inaugural, President Obama gavea stirring, modern statement of equalityas a core national value and progressive government as a core instrument to that end.
As a lifelong Democrat, I deeply admired the speech as an eloquent statement of American aspiration with deep roots in U.S. history.
But as a lifelong Democrat, I was also struck by an omission. A progressive agenda must be built on strong, durable economic growth. The importance of such growth today has many dimensions: It is key to a strong middle class; to jobs expansion; to national security, when our economic failures are a source of weakness; and to an equity agenda for the less fortunate or dispossessed, which is much more possible to achieve when national wealth is growing, not contracting.