Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2011

A ONE-SIDED FIGHT OVER JOBS.... At the White House press conference this morning, Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel asked a good question.

"The number one concern for many Americans right now is jobs," Emanuel noted. "Taking a look at your budget, there are tax hikes proposed for energy, for higher-income people and also for replenishing the state unemployment funds. Do you worry about the impact on jobs, sir?"

Now, it seemed a little ironic that a question about jobs would come from the Republican network, just as the GOP decided jobs no longer matter. For that matter, the notion that tax hikes necessarily undermine job growth is patently absurd. But given how little talk there is about jobs this week, I was glad to hear the question anyway.

For his part, President Obama responded:

"Well, actually, if you look at that budget, there's a whole bunch of stuff in there for job creation. I think some folks noted, for example, our infrastructure proposals, which would create millions of jobs around the country. Our investments in research and development and clean energy have the potential for creating job growth in, you know, industries of the future.

"You know, my belief that the high-end tax cuts -- or the Bush tax cuts for the high end of the population, folks like me -- my belief is that that doesn't in any way impede job growth. And most economists agree."

Obama's response has the added benefit of being true. USA Today had a good report on this today.

President Obama's proposed fiscal 2012 budget is potentially a massive job-creation engine, with plans to generate millions of them by repairing and expanding highways, bridges and railways. [...]

The plan calls for $53 billion to build a high-speed rail system, $336 billion for highways and a "national infrastructure bank" that would combine public and private money to build national or regional transportation systems.

Associated General Contractors (AGC), a trade group for the construction industry, estimates the plan could create about 5.4 million construction jobs and 10 million more jobs in related industries and the broader economy.

Given how little Republicans now care about job creation, it's likely the job-creation efforts in the White House's budget plan will be eliminated entirely.

But the point is, someone is still focusing on the jobs crisis -- which, the last time I checked, remained the top issue of concern for most Americans -- and it's not the guy who said "so be it" when told his budget plan would force thousands of Americans from their jobs.

I'd hoped at this point we'd see a credible debate underway between two competing visions on how to create jobs. As of this week, only one vision showed up.

Steve Benen 2:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (7)

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"someone is still focusing on the jobs crisis"

OK, I'll bite: who is? Because our prez going to jettison that infrastructure money in a New York minute, without getting anything in return.

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

We need the Senate and the House to give a damn and focus on the jobs crisis. Well so far they really don't give a rats ass.

Posted by: Silver Owl on February 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, sure they bitched about jobs, jobs, jobs, before the midterms.
But the jobs they really care about - for the rich - are doing fine.
And they got elected, or re-elected, and their lobbying jobs for the future are secure, so, what's the 'F'ing with jobs problem?
Remind them before '12.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

The little fox was concerned because of the proposal to raise taxes. That's a job killer, don'tcha know?

Posted by: CDW on February 15, 2011 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

It was good to hear that the President has proposals that would create jobs during the next five years. Moreover, I'm happy to hear that Fox of all networks broached the question. Nonetheless, it seems that the outcome will be much less optomistic than the President suggests because the conservative/tea party echo chamber (sp) will drown out the only recent comments the President has made on this jobs front. Where is the progressive network in helping get out the word that there remains a very real unemployment(and parenthetically, an unemployable problem -- those who have been unemployed for long periods degrading their skills).

Somehow the progressives movement doesn't seem to have the capacity to coordinate messages and use messages that resonate with individuals and key groups. There are folks on the progressive side -- Democracy Corps -- now doing studies of messaging much like the work done for years by Rep consultants duch as Luntz.

We need more of this to support the President's initiatives and to develop better initiatives that focus on jobs, innovation, and more equitable economic growth. Let's get the ball moving!

Posted by: DavidI on February 15, 2011 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

"someone is still focusing on the jobs crisis"

Yeah, the guy from FOX. Obama didn't even mention it during his budget press conference. The rest of the national press didn't ask about it.

Posted by: Tom Allen on February 15, 2011 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Associated General Contractors (AGC), a trade group for the construction industry,

And corporations would never lie, particularly about the benefits of the government giving them money, would they?

Posted by: John Thacker on February 16, 2011 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK



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