Progressivism’s golden day seemed to have arrived with Obama’s election. But the progressivism embraced by the president was not the middle-class-oriented, growth-inducing kind associated with previous Democrats. Instead, Obama’s progressivism was shaped by his fellow academics, who have enjoyed unprecedented influence in this administration, as well as closely aligned classes such as affluent greens, urban land interests, venture capitalists and the mainstream media…

The tragedy is that Obama could have done things differently. A new variation of the Works Progress Administration, for example, would create hundreds of thousands of jobs for the currently unemployed, particularly those under the age of 25. At the same time, it would have created a legacy of tree-planting and road, port and bridge construction, which would have impressed voters of all kinds by actually producing tangible results. Think of all the bridges, public facilities and art bequeathed to us by WPA.

Instead Obama’s regressive progressivism strangled blue-collar sectors of the economy. Many of his key policy initiatives, particularly in the health and environmental areas, scared businesses from expanding their operations.