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Obama should have also focused on economic growth

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 7:29 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama delivers his Inaugural address at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington.  (J. Scott Applewhite, ASSOCIATED PRESS) FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama delivers his Inaugural address at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington. (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 gave a stirring, modern statement of equality as 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.

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