“Pass This Jobs Plan Right Away”: Did Obama Lay Down The Law?
President Obama just announced a $447 billion plan to create jobs and revive the economy, and some say he came out fighting in his first real campaign speech for 2012.
Before we jump into the circus of spin and politics that has followed, lets look at the speech’s main points:
1. Helping small businesses: Tax cuts (payroll) and reducing regulations
2. Rebuilding American infrastructure: Schools, transportation, wireless internet
3. Reforming unemployment programs
4. Helping workers and families: Tax cuts, government assistance
It sounds good, but how will we pay for it? The president said outright it will be paid for entirely by spending cuts—not one cent from increased taxes. What are we going to cut? Well, that’s for Congress to decide.
Maybe this was a way for Obama to avoid criticism that he was cutting Congress out of the decision-making process; or maybe, it’s a way of making Congress do the dirty work of the plan.
Which brings us to the politics. Aside from the need to add jobs, the takeaway message of this speech was entirely political: “Let’s do this already, TOGETHER.” The president repeatedly said that ideas in the bill came from both Republicans and Democrats. And he used some variation of the phrase “Pass this bill” 15 times!
And… it worked?
Sort of. Some of Obama’s worst enemies are not immediately dismissing the bill- and that is huge progress. Rep. John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, said the president’s proposals “merit consideration;” second-ranking House Republican Eric Cantor admitted that the two parties might agree on the payroll tax cuts. By Washington’s cutthroat standards, they might as well have dressed up like cheerleaders and thrown Obama a pep rally on the White House lawn.
Even the fierce critics from the president’s own party gave him some credit tonight. Rep. Maxine Waters, who has accused Obama of turning his back on the black community, just this morning challenged the president to treat America’s 3 million unemployed African Americans as well as he would treat the 3 million people of Iowa (an influential election state) if they were all unemployed.
After the speech, Rep. Waters was disappointed that the president didn’t specifically mention black unemployment; but overall, she thought “he got it right.”
What do you think? Is this the beginning of a real plan, or just more hot air?