Friday, 9. September 2011 11:26
President Obama gave a speech presenting his new jobs program, called the American Jobs Act (AJA), to a joint session of Congress last night. Here is a round-up of the reactions to the speech. The price tag for the bill comes in at about $447 billion.
AP’s fact checkers rate President Obama’s claims that the AJA is paid-for, bipartisan, deficit-neutral and immediately effective as false.
Critics of the president have made much of the fact that Obama repeatedly called for them to “pass the bill” in his speech. The count? See for yourself:
Captain Ed over at Hot Air notes the curious absence of any mention of “energy” in President Obama’s job proposal. Meanwhile, Robert Reich, Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, gives the speech two cheers and one jeer. Reich believes it was a step in the right direction, but not bold enough.
Elanor Clift, a liberal supporter of the president, argues Obama made a clear and compelling case for his new jobs program. She argues it is a “common sense” mix of bipartisan proposals that amount to a sound program to stimulate the economy.
If President Obama’s speech were only about economics, its proposals would pass easily in both chambers of Congress. Though bigger and bolder than expected, it is still at its core a common-sense mix of ideas that both Democrats and Republicans have supported.
Jay Cost argues that the AJA is Stimulus, part deux.
Much of Obama’s speech from last night was directly imported from other addresses. It was full of his usual tropes – strawmen characterizations of his opponents, a soaring paean to American greatness that only ever mentioned big government, and the typical denunciations of “politics as usual,” implicitly defined as everything that hurts his political prospects in 2012.
John Podhoretz, a critic of the president, agrees and is underwhelmed. Podhoretz argues that Obama’s “jobs” plan is no different from his original stimulus bill in 09, which did nothing to “stimulate” the economy or help with unemployment.
But Obama’s fetishistic invocation of the glory of infrastructure projects is directly related to his unyielding certitude — a certitude unaltered despite the failure of his last stimulus — that the federal government needs to take a lead role in thecountry’s employment crisis by employing people directly itself.
Whatever the merits of Obama’s job proposal, the politics are clear. Given the failure of the first stimulus to actually stimulate the economy and the continued threat of a double-dip recession, Obama’s re-election bid is in serious jeapordy. The below graph, which shows the actual unemployment rate versus the post-stimulus projections of the Obama administration in 09 illustrate why many congressional leaders have either dismissed Obama’s new plan or are highly skeptical of it. Obama’s credibility on the economy has taken a serious hit and it may be too late for him to do anything about it: