The Obama administration has managed to move from the promise of hope and change to a reality that speaks of hype and disappointment. He has alienated conservatives with his ram it down their throat legislative style, especially in regards to things of such ground shaking importance as health care reform. He also seems to have left his base feeling betrayed by not pushing their agendas more. Probably most important to any further presidential aspirations he as managed to lose swing voters by providing the sort of disjointed and foggy leadership they disdain. Add to this a economy acting like a critical ill patient in a coma, both in serious condition but not getting substantially worse or better, the president’s political life depends on getting the economy moving.
Backed into a corner the president announced a couple of weeks ago he had a plan and would announce it in the beginning of September. Of course the only reason one puts off such an announcement is to buy time to put such a plan together. A plan that will likely either make or break his political career. If it works he is a hero and all will be forgiven by enough of the people to assure his re-election. If it fails it will seal the fate of an already crippled presidency.
Last Thursday with all the pomp and circumstance he could muster he made his grand announcement before a joint session of congress. Now it is time for people to debate the plan and congress to go work on it, well except for the part that is missing which is everything at the moment (he hasn’t actually produced a bill for anyone to read yet despite repeatedly instructing the congress to pass the plan now). As far as paying for his proposal, he assures us it will be but we again will have to wait to hear how. At least he did give us an outline of what he is proposing, although it be a foggy outline. The outline, depending on who you read, is either just the right thing at just the right time or more of the same failed policies.
According to Jim Tankersley of National Journal it is “Timely, targeted, but incomplete“. A plan according to Tankersley that hits some of the right cords but probably not big enough. Tankersley does accurately portray the plan as not addressing key issues like housing but his overall assessment is more positive then many others.
A USA Today editorial the plan is “Jobs plan deja vu“. In essence USA today is saying the plan is mostly a retread of old ideas. The truth is that even the president said there is nothing new in what he is proposing.
The plan has all the markings of the much anticipated blockbuster that ends up being a colossal flop. If this true the it is unfortunate for the American people that need something to hope for.
The president has shown in the past he does not have a clue on economics. Having never even worked in the private sector and having surrounded himself in the beginning with bureaucrats and ideologues, there was little chance he’d gain insight anytime soon. Now with polls showing he will likely lose the presidency in 2012 there have been some changes in his rhetoric that hints he has started to grow beyond the mentality of a community organizer. He is talking reducing the regulatory burden, of course his vision of what is a regulatory burden is yet to be seen. He also talked of reducing loop holes and making the corporate tax code more competitive, a Paul Ryan idea. Trade agreements were also mentioned and if negotiated well are a good thing. The presidents proposals seem to show some economic growth in his thinking but not enough.
One of the centerpieces of his jobs bill is infrastructure investment of the same type he previously called for in his infamous shovel ready jobs speech. Why we should think these things are anymore shovel ready this time is beyond me. He is also unlikely to dramatically reduce regulations. This is especially true of the most egregious regulatory burdens facing American business in the form of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, each of which will cost American businesses billions. His speech also showed he is unlikely to reign in the administration attack dogs, especially the NRLB and the EPA. It is also doubtful he will close loop holes and lower the corporate tax code to the extent needed. Nothing in his speech hinted at taking the handcuffs off the oil industry, a move that an an oil industry report shows could produce as much as a million jobs. Oil shell is another industry in the same vain that has the potential to create huge numbers of jobs and add to our energy independence to boot but is unlikely to get any Obama administration support. If anything his speech hints at putting the squeeze on the oil industry.
Taxes are another issue he addressed, basically besides continuing the payroll tax break there is not much here. Of course one of the biggest tax increase in history is Obamacare which dwarfs what the President is proposing in cuts and will start kicking in next year. There is also no mention in lowering the capital gains tax.
In the end the proposal has some things in it that are sound good and may even have promise but on balance it is more of the same. This proposal has nothing that is likely to dramatically change the economic circumstances. The truth is this president is philosophically and ideologically opposed to those very things that would both help the economy and his presidency the most. This means that unless the president can pull a rabbit out of his hat by demagoguing the issues he is likely finished. Not that it is impossible, his pass the bill now rhetoric is an obvious attempt to paint those that put off his prescription for relief as at fault for everything that follows. From this writers perspective that is a horse that died long ago and no matter how much President Obama tries to beat it, it isn’t going anywhere. Come the next presidential election this will likely be the Republicans to lose.