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Obama's unapologetic inaugural address (WaPo)
E.J. Dionne writes that like FDR, President Obama used his inaugural address to make a positive case for the role of government and collective action in America, and it revealed him to be what his opponents most feared—not a secret Muslim Kenyan, but a liberal.
Obama Takes Aim at Paul Ryan in Inaugural Address (HuffPo)
Ryan Grim notes that the president's speech rejected the Randian view that programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid divide makers from takers. It was probably the second most awkward moment in Paul Ryan's life after the one pictured here.
The Equality Inaugural (TNR)
Timothy Noah writes that Obama's second inaugural was a promise that he'll do a better job of fighting back against lopsided growth and concentrated economic power during his second term, and thanks to a mix of new taxes he may at least get his gloves up.
Inequality Is Holding Back the Recovery (NYT)
Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that without a comprehensive plan to address rising inequality, the economic recovery will remain stuck in a rut somewhere down in the fathomless gorge separating America's haves and have-nots.
The Big Deal (NYT)
Paul Krugman writes that Obama's three-pronged focus on reforming health care, tackling inequality, and re-regulating Wall Street can be seen as his answer to FDR's New Deal, though skeptical progressives worry this Big Deal comes with a lot of fine print.
In the next four years, we'll see if Wall Street can be reformed (WaPo)
Suzy Khimm notes that although Dodd-Frank has been on the books for two and half years, more than half of it still hasn't been implemented. Now comes the really tricky part, in which regulators must fill in all the "insert sensible rule here" sections of the law.
U.N. Agency Warns of Rising Unemployment (NYT)
In a serious byline/subject matter mismatch, David Jolly reports that the International Labor Organization expects the worldwide number of unemployed to top 202 million people this year, and advocates of austerity seem to be taking the over on that bet.
The 6 Most Illuminating Quotes from the Fed's Pre-Crisis Meetings (The Atlantic)
Matthew O'Brien highlights moments from the transcripts of the Fed's 2007 meetings that show the central bankers were mildly concerned but not yet at breathing-into-a-paper-bag levels of anxiety, except when it came to the rising price of their Fritos.
The Fed Drives Best at Higher Speeds (NYT)
Christina Romer argues that the Federal Reserve needs to get over its insecurities and commit more swiftly and decisively to aggressive monetary policy rather than trying to spot shark fins on the horizon every time it dips its toe in the water.
This Week in Poverty: An Anti-Poverty Contract for 2013? (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann writes that the anti-poverty movement can make the biggest impact by coalescing around a simple, unified policy agenda, including a higher minimum wage and increased support for families. Progressives love unified agendas.