President Obama‘s inauguration speech for his second term called for an active, effective federal (as well as state and local) government that provides “security and dignity” for Americans. Among the things President Obama said that government should help do or be involved in are:
“railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce.”
“rules to ensure competition and fair play.”
“care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.”
“train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.”
“Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security.”
“America … must lead” on combating climate change.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
“Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”
At the same time, President Obama said that
we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.
Likewise, Obama stated that he did not want to commit American troops to “perpetual war.” Some conservatives who rail against the “government” sometimes ignore that the U.S. military is perhaps the biggest form of “Big Government.” Accordingly, the theme of Barack Obama’s second inauguration address could be described as “good government, effective government, but not a government solution to every problem.”