A Jobs Plan (details to be announced)

The President is on the tail end of his Midwestern bus tour, which was designed to focus on the issue of jobs. While there is no shortage of presidential remarks (punctuated by the obligatory hand shakes, autographs, and baby kissing), the lack of substance exhibited by the President is frustrating the NYT (see today’s lead editorial):

“Now, on a bus tour in the Midwest, he is bitterly pointing the finger at his opponents for their refusal to consider any new revenues to tackle the deficit and their insistence on deep near-term spending cuts that will only cause more economic pain. His anger is long overdue. But it would be much more effective if he combined it with strong ideas of his own for how to fix the economy, rather than the thin agenda he is now promoting.”

Yesterday’s editorial sounded the same note, suggesting the explanation could be found in the administration’s timidity:

“Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether it is worth pushing any bold proposals, fearing that voters will see it as a failure if they don’t make it through Congress. That is an excuse for not trying.”

The Times is likely too harsh. The President’s armored bus tour (far different than the Biden Summer of Recovery tour from last summer) has allowed the President to gather much needed information. While some critics might question why the President would go to these states, given that Iowa and Minnesota have lower unemployment rates than the nation (6% and 6.7% respectively). However, as the WSJ notes, Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that the President was going to these states precisely for this reason: he wanted to see what was working.

The good news: this information will undoubtedly find an expression in a plan. Indeed, the administration has announced a bold, new plan. Well, alright, not a plan. But at least there is now a promise of a post-Martha’s Vineyard, post-Labor Day speech that will announce a plan. The AP cites a senior administration official who has presented the broad outline of the new jobs plan:

“The president’s plan is likely to contain tax cuts, jobs-boosting infrastructure ideas and steps that would specifically help the long-term unemployed. The official emphasized that all of Obama’s proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his “infrastructure bank” idea to finance construction jobs.”

All of the proposals will be “fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks”? The suspense builds. According to the AP report, “the [senior administration] official spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet disclosed his plans. No final decisions on the economic package have been made.”

The plans are going to be fresh but as of yet are undisclosed and have not yet been decided on. Precisely the assurance that the markets need in these rather tumultuous times.  Nonetheless, the President seems confident that the fresh, new economic ideas will force Congress to act. In his words:

“Hopefully, when they come back in September, they’re going to have a wakeup call that says we need to move the country forward.”

Hopefully…

3 thoughts on “A Jobs Plan (details to be announced)

  1. “unemployment rates than the nation (6% and 6.7% respectively). However, as the WSJ notes, Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that the President was going to these states precisely for this reason: he wanted to see what was working”….

    I think what works for them are ag subsidies and ethanol. Pull the plug on both programs and see what happens to the local economy. Also, those two states have low populations with very little net immigration and low workforce growth and churn, hence very low apparent unemployment rates, but also low or no employment growth.

    Too bad the President doesn’t come to Texas, or Oklahoma or Louisiana to see what works for them. Much more dynamic in all aspects of growth. Of course he might not receive quite as polite a reception there.

  2. Agreed, ethanol is likely a big part of the story. But who who really believes that the trip to Iowa–coinciding with the straw poll–was simply a coincidence and that the goals was to “learn” what works?

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