Morning Bell: Obama Spins His Wheels; Economy Stuck in First Gear
Mike Brownfield /
No news is good news–except when it means that the story about America’s slow-moving economy remains the same. A new report this morning from the Department of Labor shows that despite all of President Barack Obama’s promises and policies to grow the economy, there are still 14 million unemployed Americans. Meanwhile, the President is still spinning his job creation wheels, signing executive orders and pushing for misguided and expensive policies that lack support in Congress.
The word from the monthly jobs report shows that unemployment was little unchanged at 9 percent in October, with only 80,000 jobs created. While it’s always good news when jobs are created (especially given this Administration’s record), there isn’t much of a sign of a strong economic recovery.
So what’s the President doing about it? He’s pitching “job creation” plans that will do nothing to create jobs and that lack support in Congress while signing executive orders that sound great in speeches but ultimately will mean little for America’s economic bottom line.
On Wednesday, President Obama campaigned for his infrastructure spending plan, which he says would put hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers to work. Just a day later, the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to pass it, with bipartisan opposition. As we wrote yesterday, dumping more money into roads wouldn’t create jobs anyhow, and the Senate was wise to reject it.
Then on Tuesday, the President signed an executive proclamation establishing the Fort Monroe National Monument located in Hampton, Virginia. Remarkably, the President spun the signing as a jobs plan, saying “Local officials estimate that this may end up creating as many as 3,000 jobs in the region.” If his $787 billion stimulus wasn’t enough to get the economy going, perhaps a new national monument will do the trick? And if not that, then maybe the executive order he signed on Monday that “directs the FDA to step up work to reduce the drug shortages and protect consumers” could help? Add on the President’s do-nothing student loan relief he announced last week, which will offer less than $10 per month in relief to borrowers, and you have a series of stabs in the dark from the Obama White House that, apart for being bad policy, won’t amount to new jobs.
While the economy continues to sputter, America’s fiscal house continues to hemmorhage debt. The congressional “super committee” has until Thanksgiving to come up with a plan to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction savings. As of yesterday, congressional leaders remain at an impasse. Done correctly, Congress can solve Washington’s spending and debt crisis, preserve its ability to protect the nation, and assist a return to a strong, vibrant economy–without raising taxes. And all of that will go a long way toward creating the kind of economic environment needed to grow jobs.
Yesterday, 33 Senators took a stand against overspending and overborrowing, writing a letter to the supercommittee saying that their plan must balance our budget within 10 years; place entitlements on a path to fiscal solvency; include comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates and promotes economic growth–with no net tax increase–and avoids a further downgrade of our credit rating. Heritage vice president David S. Addington said of the letter, “While the Senators left out a crucial fifth criterion — fully funding defense to protect America — theirs is an important clear statement by elected leaders of what must be done.”
A new paper from Heritage, Three Pillars of Reform for the Super Committee, lays out specific recommendations for Congress, including fully funding national defense, transforming entitlement programs, and not raising taxes. Alison Fraser, Patrick Knudsen, and Mackenzie Eaglen explain why that kind of bold action is necessary:
Given the nation’s gloomy budget scenarios, it is both urgent and imperative that Congress set the right course for solving the budget crisis. But details matter. If the super committee arrives at a rag-tag assortment of desperate deficit reduction policies simply to meet an arbitrary target, the committee could do more harm than good.
Today’s economic report shows more of the same economic news for America, and President Obama is responding with more of the same policies that won’t change the country’s economic direction. Campaigning for measures that lack merit — and lack congressional support — won’t solve the problem. With a fast-approaching deadline to cut spending, Congress has a chance to take substantial measures to put America’s budget on sound footing, and if it does it the right way, it can also help ensure a brighter economic future.
- Concerns over the United States’ relationship with Pakistan have led to changes in the way the Central Intelligence Agency will launch covert drone strikes, including more input from the State Department and advance notice to Pakistani leaders over more operations.
- Congressional Democrats have sent a letter to election officials in all 50 states arguing against the adoption of voter identification laws that are being enacted to prevent voter fraud. The letter claims the rules are “the product of partisan plays.”
- Europe’s economic problems and Greece’s potential referendum on an emergency bailout were the top subjects of the Group of 20 talks in Cannes, France, on Thursday.
- The White House is facing a new subpoena from Congress regarding the Solyndra scandal. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General is investigating more than 100 instances of criminal abuse of stimulus loans.
- LUNCHTIME CHAT: Join us today from 12 pm to 1 pm for a Web chat with Heritage’s Pat Knudsen. We’ll be discussing what Washington needs to cut from the budget. Click here to join in!