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Tag Archives: American Jobs Act

Obama Can Create Millions of Jobs, but Won’t

President Obama is traveling the country pretending he’s not campaigning and that he only wants Republicans to cooperate with him in his Quixotic campaign to create jobs for America.

And yet, what is he really doing? Promoting a jobs bill that has no chance of passing Congress but an excellent chance of making some people think Republicans hate teachers, firefighters and similar salts of the earth, and don’t want to get them jobs.

But in an article today for the Wall Street Journal, Jim McNerney, the chairman of the Business Roundtable – a group of corporate CEOs that has been traditionally quite bipartisan, as business groups go – says that Obama himself has the keys to creating more jobs. Except he can’t get them out of his pocket.

According to the man most in touch with the country’s top corporate leaders, Obama could create millions of jobs by putting regulations on a diet.

A tsunami of new rules and regulations from an alphabet soup of federal agencies is paralyzing investment and increasing by tens of billions of dollars the compliance costs for small and large businesses.

No one wants to discard truly meaningful public-safety or environmental regulations. But what we face is a jobs crisis, and regulators charged with protecting the interests of the people are making worse the problem that’s hurting them most. Regulatory relief in the energy sector alone could create up to two million new jobs, and we won’t have to borrow a penny to pay for it.

Obama has disingenuously framed the choice as one between the thicket of new regulations in which he’s enmeshing the economy and the end of civilized conduct in America – letting factories belch asbestos into the air for the sheer joy of it or allowing banks charge $10 for the lollipops they give kids for coming with you to deposit your check. Something like that.

Just about every regulation that’s out there (Republicans) want to get rid of — clean air, clean water — you name it.

We are not going to win the race in this competitive 21st century economy by having the cheapest labor or the most polluted air. That’s a race to the bottom that we can’t win. There’s always going to be a country out there that can exploit its workers more, or pollute its air more, or pollute its water more, have lower worker safety standards. There’s always going to be somebody out there to win that competition.

Actually, according to McNerney, the president’s agenda may create a certain number of new jobs. In Asia.

Absent a clear change in course, no one should be surprised if some companies ultimately invest abroad, creating jobs beyond our borders that could have been based here. This doesn’t have to happen, but an increasingly skeptical business community needs proof Washington can put America on a sustainable fiscal footing and promote economic growth.

No Politics to See Here, Please Move Along

The White House continues to claim that President Obama’s jaunts around the country, billed as an effort to get Congress to pass his American Jobs Act, are actually an attempt to get Congress to pass his American Jobs Act.

But really, they’re an attempt to get reelected, and to try to prevent Republicans from doing the same.

Veteran CBS White House reporter Bill Plante possesses a sophisticated olfactory system that he’s fine tuned over many years to sniff out NONSENSE.

He likes to ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney what the real reason is Obama is running around the country criticizing Republicans for rejecting a bill he knows they won’t pass, and then sending it over to Congress in individual pieces he knows they won’t pass. Instead of, say, negotiating with them.

Here’s an exchange he had with Carney today.

Q: So does what you say mean that the president has decided that there’s no way to work with the Republicans…

CARNEY: Absolutely not.

PLANTE: You meant, therefore, it’s important for him to take his case campaign style to people in states which are going to be critical for his reelection.

CARNEY: I know it sticks in your craw that the president actually leaves Washington and goes out and talks to the American people…

PLANTE: just asking.

(LAUGHTER)

CARNEY: But the president — the president believes very strongly that Republicans in Congress will not take action because he asks them to. I think that has been established over these nearly three years.

What he does also believe is that Republicans in Congress will take action if their constituents demand that they do it. So that is why he is out in the country talking about the need to pass the jobs act and why he was talking about the actions that he’s taking without Congress — because we can’t wait for Congress to act  . . .

You know, he will continue to do these things and he’ll continue to press Congress to take action.

But, again, you’ve heard him out there. We’re being quite transparent, calling on the American people to call on Congress to do the things that the American people say they want done.

First of all, it’s always a sign someone at the White House is hiding something when they say, “We’re being quite transparent.”

Now, the odd thing about Carney’s response to Plante is that just moments before, he said this:

I would just point out that when you see this 100 percent Republican opposition, it’s totally disconnected from Republicans out in the country. It’s not just Democrats out there and — and the president.

It — you’ve seen the data; probably ABC’s own poll. I mean, it’s — they’re out of sync with Democrats, independents, Republicans, Americans who want Washington to act.

This means, in the White House view, that Republicans in Congress DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT REPUBLICANS THINK. Because . . . they  . . . because . . . what?

And so Republicans in the hinterland are going to listen to Obama, the theory goes – Obama – who has the approval of 40 percent of the nation and effectively no Republicans – and ask GOP lawmakers to pass Obama’s bill? Really? That’s the strategy?

A Republican couple mulls whether to contact their Congressman after listening to Obama

And then if a few of them do contact GOP lawmakers, these Republicans who supposedly don’t care what their base thinks are going to suddenly support the legislation? After voting in lock-step against it?

Excuse me. Back to the real world.

So why, one reporter – I think it was still Plante – wanted to know, is Obama going to presidential battleground states to do this?

“Look,” said Carney, “I think he has been around the country, including to places that are blue and purple and red, making this case, and he will continue to move around the country to states of all colors.”

I guess technically this is true. It’s also true that Picasso used other colors during his “Blue Period.” But it was still his Blue Period.

And if Obama goes to Ohio one more time, they’re going to make him a common-law resident of the state.

Obama Now Trashing Republicans in the East Room

Having introduced a “jobs program” he knows full well Republicans will never accept, President Obama at a news conference today ramped up the political threats against the GOP, vowing to do his best to turn voters against them if they reject his plans.

The president, who in recent weeks has been bashing Republicans during trips to political battlegrounds, to his message of contempt to the East Room.

Who enters into negotiations with phrases like this? These are bullying tactics designed to leverage as much political juice from this latest Washington game as possible.

If it turns out that there are Republicans who are opposed to this bill, they need to explain to me, but more importantly to their constituencies and the American people, why they’re opposed and what would they do.

And if Mr. McConnell chooses to vote against it or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you, we’re going to keep on going and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill, and each time they’re going to have to explain why it is that they’d be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle- class folks and giving tax cuts to small businesses.

If I told you I wanted to make a deal with you, and then said if you don’t agree to what I want, you’ll have some explaining to do to you wife and friends, how exactly would you react?

Obama also renewed his class warfare argument. I’d say that such rhetoric is all politics, except I really think Obama believes, in the most anti-intellectual manner – a Harvard man, no less – that Republicans are just devoted to helping the rich.

The same folks that the Republicans claim to be protecting, the well-off, the millionaires and the billionaires, they’d be doing better, they’d be making more money if ordinary Americans had some money in their pockets and were out there feeling more confident about the economy.

Republicans surely have their own political motives, but in fact they’ve promised to run parts of Obama’s agenda through the House. But they genuinely don’t believe that raising taxes to pay for all this is going to help the economy, and there are a lot of economists who back them up. What’s more, many Senate Democrats also oppose Obama’s plan.

The tax cuts included in Obama’s American Jobs Act, which he said Republicans should be to die for, are temporary, while the millionaires’ tax to be assessed to pay for it all in the Senate version of the bill – which Obama has accepted – lasts for ten years. Many think temporary measures have little positive effect because when they’re done, you’re right back where you were. You can’t plan for the future. Credits for business to hire, for example, run out and then the business is stuck paying an employee’s full salary.

Millionaires generally don’t put their money under a mattress. They spend or invest it, which leads to jobs and economic activity. They’ll start planning to do less of that if they know they’re getting socked for ten years.

The point is, there are real reasons to be concerned about this proposal. Obama knows better. But he wants to political benefit of running against a Do-Nothing Congress, so he can salvage his presidency like the last underdog to do that, Harry S Truman.

Obama to Rip Republicans in “Jobs” Speech

President Obama will directly slam House Republican Leader Eric Cantor during today’s “jobs’ speech in Mesquite Texas.

The White House just took the unusual step of releasing a portion of Obama’s prepared remarks, suggesting the attack on Cantor is the point of the speech.

The speech, which is sandwiched between fundraisers in Dallas and St. Louis, is supposedly “official business” that will help defray the costs to the Obama campaign of what is otherwise a campaign trip. With official business on the schedule, taxpayers are required to help out.

The remarks provide further confirmation that Obama’s jobs plan – with its calls for tax increases Republicans will never accept – is a creature of politics, not policy.

Here’s the excerpt released by the White House.

Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. He won’t even give it a vote.

Well I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?

Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas, look Kim Russell in the eye, and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to get a paycheck again. Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.

Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting home instead of fixing our bridges and our schools.

Come tell the small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for millionaires than tax cuts for the middle-class.

And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands.

Cantor, in fact, has said he would run portions of Obama’s plan through the House. Rarely is a proposal by a president put on the floor in its entirety.

Obama Admits He’s Bullying McConnell and Boehner

Well this is astonishing, though I’m not sure whether for its honesty or it chutzpah.

President Obama today said he is in fact visting the Brent-Spence Bridge, which connects Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky., to put the screws on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Here’s what he said a little while ago while standing on the Ohio side of the bridge in Cincinatti.

Part of the reason I came here is because Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, those are the two most powerful Republicans in government. They can either kill this jobs bill or they can help pass this jobs bills.

And I know these men care about their states. They care about businesses. They care about workers here. I can’t — I can’t imagine that the speaker wants to represent a state where nearly one in four bridges are classified as “substandard.” One in four.

I know that when Senator McConnell visited the closed bridge in Kentucky, he said that “roads and bridges are not partisan in Washington.” That’s great. I know that Paul Ryan, the Republican in charge of the budget process, recently said that you can’t deny that “infrastructure does create jobs.” That’s what he said.

Well, if that’s the case, there’s no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects. There’s no reason to stand in the way of more jobs.

Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge.

I can’t remember a president making a supposedly non-political, taxpayer-funded trip to the home state or district of a Member of Congress in order to try to bully them.

The bridge, as I reported last week, has nothing to do with the American Jobs Act, which Obama is supposedly going there to promote. The bridge doesn’t need repairs and is going to be replaced, but not for a few years.

So this has everything to do with politics and with trying to attack Boehner and McConnell.

Obama knows you don’t build support and consensus behind a bill by bullying the people you’re trying to work with. Today’s appearance by Obama adds to the evidence that the American Jobs Act – which includes tax increases Obama knows Republicans will never accept – is a political land mine Obama hopes Republicans will step on by rejecting its provisions.

Then, he will blame the GOP for not helping him fix the economy.

Obama to Tout Jobs Project that isn’t Shovel-Ready

UPDATE: I thought you might want to see this piece I wrote last week in case you missed it, since it pertains to today’s trip. Originally published last Friday.

President Obama next week will make a publicity pitch for his American Jobs Act at a site where work is not scheduled to begin until 2014 at the earliest.

Obama plans an appearance at the site of the Brent-Spence Bridge, which connects Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky. The bridge is too small for the number of cars and trucks that need to cross it each day and must be replaced. But the project is still in the planning stages and cannot possibly fulfill the American Jobs Act’s intent of creating new work as fast as possible.

Failure to fund shovel-ready projects is one of the chief criticisms of Obama’s $826 billion 2009 stimulus measure.

But the political effect of Obama’s planned appearance is much more clear, humiliating both Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by highlighting an urgent infrastructure project that is in McConnell’s state and very close to Boehner’s district.

Obama has been accused of using the Jobs Act – which is paid for by tax increases the White House knows Republicans will never accept – as more of a political tool than a jobs program.

According to a report Thursday in the Cincinnati Enquirer, officials have not even selected a design for the new bridge.

Preliminary engineering and design are nearly finished, a lead planner said Tuesday, and public hearings are set for February.

At the hearings, officials will present two proposals to revamp a 7.8-mile stretch of the Interstate 75 corridor and three proposed designs for a new double-decker bridge over the Ohio River.

A website devoted to the project states that construction will begin in either 2014 or 2015.

And yet Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clearly linked Obama’s appearance at the bridge to the Jobs Act.

On Thursday, September 22nd, the President will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, to deliver remarks at the Brent-Spence Bridge, urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act now, so that we can make much-needed investments in infrastructure projects across the country and put more Americans back to work.  The Brent-Spence Bridge is on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America, yet it is considered “functionally obsolete” because it is in need of so many significant repairs.  If Congress passes the American Jobs Act, we can put more Americans back to work, while getting repairs like this one done.

But the bridge project won’t put anyone back to work for at least two years, and probably more given the usual delays associated with such endeavors.

Carney’s contention that Brent-Spence Bridge is “functionally obsolete” because it needs “so many significant repairs” is also inaccurate. Actually, the bridge is structurally sound but is classified as “functionally obsolete” by the National Bridge Inventory because it does not have enough lanes for the traffic it must bear and has no space for emergency shoulders.

Carney denied Thursday that Obama was traveling to the site for political purposes.

A big shout out to a few astute commenters on a previous article who alerted me that the bridge isn’t ready for prime time.

Obama Disses Both Boehner and McConnell in One Stroke

President Obama’s decision to travel next Thursday to the failing Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati is a remarkable slap at both House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the very moment Obama says he is trying to work with the GOP leadership to pass a jobs bill.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the trip during today’s briefing, calling the bridge “functionally obsolete” and in “need of so many significant repairs.” Obama will showcase the bridge as an example of the work projects that can be targeted by his American Jobs Act proposal.

The bridge connects Cincinnati with Covington, Kentucky, making Obama’s highlighting of its disrepair bad public relations for both McConnell – the Republican senator from Kentucky – and Boehner.

While not within Boehner’s Eighth Congressional District, it’s just a few miles away, and the television coverage from local Cincinnati news outlets of Obama’s visit will be beamed directly into populous area’s of the Speaker’s district.

The clear effort to put Boehner and McConnell on the spot comes just six days after the president’s trip last Friday to the Richmond district of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, where Obama launched his effort to sell the American Jobs Act outside of Washington.

Carney denied that the White House had chosen the bridge to slight the Speaker.

It’s a bridge that’s in great need of repair. It’s a bridge that’s relatively easy to get to from Washington. It’s a bridge — you know, it’s a bridge that…

It’s Obama second trip to Ohio, a key presidential swing state, to promote his jobs plan.

Obama to Tout Jobs Act at Company that Outsources

President Obama today is visiting a small North Carolina manufacturing company that has outsourced half its workforce to Costa Rica and whose president is a Democratic politician who has contributed $2,000 to Obama. WestStar Precision, a machine manufacturing firm headquartered in the Raleigh-Durham area, has a second plant located in San Jose, Costa Rica. There… Continue Reading

White House Mixes Up Its Jobs Bill Message

Whoops. Someone in the White House decided to be honest, but of course that wasn’t very good politics. Now you realize, of course, President Obama’s American Jobs Act is not going to be passed by Congress, because it’s paid for with $467 billion in tax increases and includes provisions the GOP-controlled House won’t move. Recognizing… Continue Reading

Obama to Republicans: Do as I Say, Not as I Do

I wrote a piece for POLITICO today that I hope you will enjoy. It details Obama’s cynical move to politicize his own jobs bill while demanding that Republicans put politics aside. The hypocrisy is so striking that it starts to beg the question of whether the president can be trusted at all by Republicans. Here… Continue Reading