President Obama’s Inaugural Address
...Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good...
In his inaugural address, President Obama spoke to many issues central to the Drum Major Institute. The need to go beyond small-bore policy tinkering to address the great challenges that face our nation. The necessity of reaching past the tired orthodoxies of the right and left to pursue policy solutions that genuinely improve the lives of Americans. The critical importance of reestablishing the damaged relationship between citizens and their government. And finally, the nation’s common interest in assuring that the broadest possible number of Americans have the opportunity to share a decent standard of living.
At the Drum Major Institute, we do not always expect to agree with President Obama on policy. In fact, tomorrow we will release a critique of the financial bailout bill the new president urged members of Congress to support. But we welcome the opportunity to engage with him, and to move the nation forward.