President Obama tonight pitched Stimulus 2.0 to a reluctant Congress and an angry electorate. The President rolled out his “American Jobs Act” and demanded repeatedly for Congress to “pass right away.” The President’s plan is very similar to his original Stimulus plan that has proven to be a total failure in allowing private enterprise to create jobs. It is difficult to see a scenario where Congress will pass another Obama stimulus plan.
The President demanded support for this new stimulus plan without providing legislative language to the American people nor Congress. The speech had the tone of a campaign stump speech with a bullying tone. He basically told Congress that they better pass the plan or else he would take to the streets to build up support for it.
Clearly the President is spoiling for a fight with the one pool of individuals more unpopular than himself – Congress. The President resides at a low 43% approval rating according to Rasmussen. Guess who has lower approval ratings? Congress is at an abysmal 14% according to Gallup. The President is banking on a campaign against Congress and the fiction that Republicans are blocking his efforts to turn around the economy. The fact is that conservatives have a good faith belief that they are blocking President Obama’s ideas that will be destructive to long term job creation.
The President started his speech with yet another bold promise. That his big government stimulus plan incorporates the tax cutting ideas of conservatives and the big spending ideas of liberals. The same claim was made about the President’s first plan to “save or create” jobs.
From a CNN written transcript of the speech:
I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. 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.
After pitching a tax benefit for small business, the President rolled out an expensive idea to use your tax dollars to fund construction projects:
The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed Internet in classrooms all across this country. It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures. It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects across the country.
The President then said “pass this jobs bill” to spend to hire thousands of teachers, provide tax credits to companies to hire vets, create hundreds of thousands of summer jobs, give tax credits to reward companies with high turnover and a payroll tax holiday. Sounds very expensive and some reports have the plan costing at least $447 billion.
The President’s plan to pay for his new proposal is to promise the American people an additional half trillion in cuts to spending over the next 10 years to pay for a half trillion in new spending today. This will add to the debt in the short term and may add to the long term debt of this nation if President Obama’s promised cuts never happen.
President Obama tasked the Joint Congressional Committee, created as part of legislation raising the debt ceiliing, to find almost $2.0 trillion in promised cuts over the next 10 years as a means to spend a hundreds of billions of your borrowed tax dollars right now:
The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.
The President ended his speech by demonizing conservatives who are concerned about $14.5 trillion in federal debt and chronic overspending by federal politicians. The President ignores the fact that his Administration will overspend by $1.6 trillion this year and is projected to overspend by $1.3 trillion next year. Instead of squandering cuts to spending on yet another Obama spending spree, it might be a good idea for Congress to cut spending as a means to allow Americans to keep more of their own money or to pay down the debt.
This speech had the air of a kick off to the President’s re-election effort and it will help motivate Obama’s liberal base. With dismal approval ratings, high unemployment numbers and economic stagnation, the President needed to roll out a plan that he knows has little chance of passing Congress. Yet this plan will give the President a bogeyman to campaign against. The President seems to be setting up Congress to be his straw man in an attempt to pin the blame on Republicans for a stagnant economy.
Conservatives should fire back with some ideas of their own and see if the Obama Administration is willing to move toward real tax reform, elimination of job killing regulations and more domestic production of energy. A true bipartisan approach is not a Take-It-Or-Leave-It proposition. If the Obama Administration rejects conservative modifications to the President’s plan out of hand, we shall know that the speech tonight was not a serious attempt to find bipartisan common ground on job creation.