White House spinners are working furiously in the final 72 hours before President Obama’s State of the Union speech. Their job: convince the recession-scarred American public that economic recovery is Obama’s top priority — after everything he has said and done to suggest otherwise.
The unemployment rate is 7.9 percent — one tenth of a point higher than it was when Obama took office in January 2009. But the true toll of joblessness is far higher. The Labor Department’s so-called U-6 rate, which includes people who want a job but have become so discouraged they have quit looking, is 14.4 percent. And a new study, by Rutgers University scholars, shows that 23 percent of those surveyed have lost a job sometime in the last four years, while another 11 percent have seen someone in their household lose a job. That is one-third of the American people who have experienced unemployment during Obama’s time in office, along with many more who have experienced other hardships of the economic downturn.
He's done, nothing, nothing at all, not a...what's that, Elon Green?
I refer, of course, to the American Jobs Act, which was introduced in September 2011 and died on the table, thanks to Republicans, a month later. The failure to pass this $450 billion bill was of massive consequence to the economy in general and jobs in particular. Here’s a taste of what was in the White House bill, via Brother Benen, who wrote about it here:
* Payroll tax breaks for workers and employers * Tax credit for hiring unemployed veteransYou will notice that nowhere in York’s column do the words ‘American Jobs Act’ appear. Let’s give him enough credit to assume the omission is intentional. The man knows his audience; they surely do not have any interest in the conclusion of the Economic Policy Institute, that with the passage of the American Jobs Act “real GDP growth for 2012 would have been 1.4 percentage points higher, bringing growth to 3.4 percent relative to the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline forecast.”
* Modernizing 35,000 schools (FAST Act)
* Sizable infrastructure investments in roads, rail, airports and waterways
* Extended unemployment benefits and new approaches to unemployment insurance, including work-sharing and “Bridge to Work”
You mean the same American Jobs Act that was blocked by Senate Republicans and didn't even get a vote in the GOP-controlled House after Eric Cantor cut the $450 billion employment bill to $11 billion? The same American Jobs Act that President Obama went around the country to promote, including a stop right here in Cincy? The same $450 American Jobs Act that was going to pay itself off through growth and tax revenue in ten years, as an investment in America's economy?
Sure Byron, President Obama had no plans whatsoever to do anything about America's unemployment problem, and you obviously believe your readers are pretty stupid people who didn't experience politics in September and October 2011.
But that's his job, remember? It sure isn't journalism.