We Need Jobs, Not Another Jobs Speech by the President

We Need Jobs, Not Another Jobs Speech by the

By Neil

President Obama was under a lot of pressure after an
August 2011 jobs report told the tale in no uncertain terms.   Job growth in
that month was zero, and the unemployment rate was stuck at a disturbingly
high level — 9.1%.  Following a much-publicized brouhaha over the scheduling of
a “jobs speech” in September 2011, President Obama finally delivered an address
to the nation in which he outlined yet another stimulus program to create


After all the hoopla associated with the speech,
investors expected something imaginative — something new, different, and
better.  Instead, the president tossed up a $450-billion package that looked
eerily similar to the “stimulus” programs he sold to Congress in 2009 — the
ones that failed so miserably.  Infrastructure spending, aid to states,
high-speed rail, and temporary tax cuts highlighted the president’s proposal,
just like they did almost three years earlier.  Representative Paul Ryan
(R-Wisconsin) gave an accurate
of the president’s proposal: “I didn’t hear any new ideas.”  The
reason Ryan didn’t hear any new ideas is because there weren’t


The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 300
points the day following the president’s speech, or about 3%.  Investors seemed
to be saying, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  We’ve
reached the point where Barack Obama isn’t believable on Wall Street or on Main
Street.  Only die-hard Obamanistas take our president seriously.  That’s a
dangerous state of affairs, because we face daunting challenges on multiple
fronts both at home and abroad.


In his jobs speech, Obama said, “There should be nothing controversial about this piece
of legislation.  Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been
supported by both Democrats and Republicans — including many who sit here
tonight.  And everything in this bill will be paid for.  Everything.”  As usual,
the president didn’t explain how everything will be paid for.


After the jobs speech, President Obama hit the road to
sell his “new” plan to the American people.  At one stop on his journey, the president said, “If you
love me, you gotta help me pass this bill.”  This isn’t about love.  It’s about
jobs, and President Obama’s plan won’t work this time any better than it worked
the last time or the time before that.  I like the way Senate minority leader
Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) described the president’s plan on Meet the
on September 18, 2011: “There’s little to be learned from the second
kick of a mule.”


A few days after he gave the jobs speech in September,
President Obama hustled to the podium again to deliver another deficit speech.
This is what David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times, said about the president’s deficit speech:


I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap.  I’m an Obama

When the president said the unemployed can’t wait 14
more months for help and we had to do something right away, I believed him.
When administration officials called around saying that the possibility of a
double-dip recession was horrifyingly real and that it would be irresponsible
not to come up with a package that could pass right away, I believed

I liked Obama’s payroll tax cut ideas and urged
Republicans to play along.  But of course I’m a sap.  When the president
unveiled the second half of his stimulus it became clear that this package has
nothing to do with helping people right away or averting a double dip.  This is
a campaign marker, not a jobs bill.

It recycles ideas that couldn’t get passed even when
Democrats controlled Congress.


Brooks was correct.  The president just rehashed the
same old, same old.  Generally speaking, the left loved the president’s deficit speech because it was laced with
“tax the rich” invective, and the right hated it for the same reason.  But — and this is a big
but — liberal Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) didn’t like it at all.  The tax hikes that the president kept
saying were essential were too liberal for him, and the same is true for the
majority of Democratic senators, no matter what their political bent happens to


The political landscape is taking shape, and Obama’s
tax-and-spend approach is becoming less popular every day as voters are coming
to terms with stark reality.  Keep in mind that in 2009, a heavily Democratic
Congress gave the president carte blanche to deal with our nation’s economic
woes.  The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and other stimulus programs that
cost American taxpayers close to $2 trillion were supposed to revitalize the economy and keep
the unemployment rate below 8%, but they were designed by President Obama to
achieve his objectives, not ours.


People who were hoping for change when they voted for
Obama were disheartened because what they got was the largest and most expensive
boondoggle in American history.  The change that President Obama had in mind was
even more taxing and spending — more than thinking people dreamed possible.
Jobs to him are little more than an afterthought.  Even with increasing
political pressure to do something meaningful to create jobs, Obama still can’t
admit that we have a serious problem and that his approach isn’t


The latest round of political gimmickry should
convince any thinking person that President Obama is just playing games while
our economy crumbles.  As I said in a recent American Thinker blog entry, Senate Democrats didn’t
even take up the president’s “jobs plan” until a few days ago, and
immediately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) moved “to block Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to
bring the ‘jobs’ bill up for a vote in the Senate.”  But that’s not all.  Senate
Democrats tacked onto the “jobs” bill a “millionaires’ tax,” and Reid rewrote Senate rules to make it very difficult for the
minority party to force the majority party to take uncomfortable votes.  If
that’s not political game-playing, I don’t know what is.


Making the charade even more surreal, Obama took to
the airwaves again on Thursday and blamed Republicans for standing
in the way of progress.  He even attacked “Mitch McConnell several times by
name, without ever acknowledging the real reason his legislation has stalled in
the upper chamber: Democratic opposition.”


This is the bottom line.  We need jobs — not another
jobs speech by the president.  An unemployment rate above 9% is unacceptably
high, and the economy is moving in the wrong direction.  Almost everyone except
the president seems to know that.  Obama’s jobs and deficit speeches have done
nothing to help solve our economic problems, and time us running short.  We need
change we can believe in, and we need it fast.  Thankfully, November 2012 is
just around the corner.  It will be a referendum on President Obama’s
performance deficit.


Neil Snyder is a chaired
professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog,
SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.
His latest book is titled
If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You’re Not a Racist, You
Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You’re Not an

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