Government support of innovation and technology guide inaugural agenda


President Obama used his second inaugural address to call for a national adoption of technology and innovation backed by the federal government, and set an agenda focused on legislation of long-term problems like climate change and immigration reform.

In his Jan. 21 inaugural address, Obama called for work to repair and revamp worn out federal programs that "are inadequate to the needs of our time." The president called for new ideas and technologies to remake the government, tax code, education system and have the federal government support civic activism, all in response to problems faced by ordinary Americans.

He also said the United States must invest in education and research, including labs, because they drive innovation and a path to new jobs. "No single person can 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."

"We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries; we must claim its promise.  That's how we will maintain our economic vitality," he said.

While setting out his second term agenda, Obama says innovation should be supported in the private sector because "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."

The president said this support of innovation and the expansion of the social contract-- through Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security--are some of the major roles government will play in his vision.  

"These things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great," he said.

Other policy areas identified by Obama included immigration reform, climate change legislation, ensuring equal pay for women, gay rights legislation and a foreign policy of diplomacy and military strength.

Notably absent were mentions of gun violence, direct references to the debt ceiling or sequestration, and calls for change in the gridlock mindset--the last of which was a key theme in his first inaugural address when he said "the question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works."

At the 2013 address, he struck a different note, saying the nation cannot "mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics."

For more:
- read a transcript of the speech
- watch inaugural address, ball and festivities videos

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