Political Animal

Blog

October 17, 2011 2:45 PM ‘That’s their jobs plan’

By Steve Benen

President Obama spoke in Asheville this morning, as part of the kick off of his bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia, and delivered his jobs speech to a fairly receptive audience. This time, however, he added a new section to his speech, taking advantage of recent developments in the Senate.

After noting that independent economists have projected the American Jobs Act would create nearly 2 million jobs, the president noted, “[I]t turns out one poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the ideas in this jobs bill. So 63 percent of Americans support the jobs bill that I put forward; 100 percent of Republicans in the Senate voted against it. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?”

Obama turned his attention to the new GOP alternative.

“Now, it turns out that the Republicans have a plan, too. I want to be fair. They call — they put forward this plan last week. They called it the ‘Real American Jobs Act.’ The ‘real one’ — that’s what they called it — just in case you were wondering.

“So let’s take a look at what the Republican American jobs act looks like. It turns out the Republican plan boils down to a few basic ideas: They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants. They want to drill more. And they want to repeal health care reform. That’s their jobs plan.”

Obama proceeded to play a little compare and contrast. Republicans want to help industries pollute; Dems want to put teachers back to work. Republicans want to gut the health care system; Dems think it won’t help the economy to take Americans’ coverage away. And so on.

This is precisely why Democrats have been pleading with GOP lawmakers to present a jobs plan — not just because Dems wanted a target, but because they knew the Republican approach would be a joke, especially when compared to the popular, economist-backed Democratic plan.

Republicans assumed they’d at least get a talking point out of this — those big meanies at the White House keep saying there’s no GOP jobs plan, so Republicans will prove them wrong. But this assumption was backwards — Republicans have given Obama a talking point, allowing him to mock the pathetic GOP agenda and use it prove why Republicans lack any and all credibility on the subject.

The president, referencing analysis published by Greg Sargent last week, added, “[R]emember those independent economists who said our plan would create jobs, maybe as many as almost 2 million jobs, grow the economy by as much as 2 percent? So one of the same economists that took a look at our plan took a look at the Republican plan, and they said, ‘Well, this won’t do much to help the economy in the short term — it could actually cost us jobs.’ We could actually lose jobs with their plan. So I’ll let you decide which plan is the real American Jobs Act.”

Here’s hoping political reporters were paying attention to this. As Greg reported today, “Multiple news orgs reported extensively on the Senate GOP’s jobs plan without soliciting the views of private economists on whether it will do what Republicans say it will do — create growth and jobs. So, a question: Shouldn’t the view of economists on this rather important question — whether Republicans are making a legitimate contribution to the debate about what to do about the short term economic crisis — be part of the discussion here?”

That need not be a rhetorical question. This isn’t a matter of opinion; we’re talking about demonstrable facts, as bolstered by independent economic analysis: the White House jobs plan would make an immediate, positive difference, and the Republican jobs plan wouldn’t help at all.

From a solely political perspective, is there any angle to the debate over jobs that’s more important than this?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

Post a comment
  • Josef K on October 17, 2011 2:57 PM:

    From a solely political perspective, is there any angle to the debate over jobs that’s more important than this?

    I'm sure Rove, Armey, and company can think of a few, none of them even remotely related to this debate of course. They're funny like that.

  • Anonymous on October 17, 2011 3:05 PM:

    @ Steve B:

    "So, a question: Shouldn’t the view of economists on this rather important question — whether Republicans are making a legitimate contribution to the debate about what to do about the short term economic crisis — be part of the discussion here?”

    No. The media not allowed to report a scoring of the GOP plan. It would make them "liberals", and mess up the "he said/she said", both sides do it meme. Steve, dont you understand the way things work in the media?

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on October 17, 2011 3:23 PM:

    Multiple news orgs reported extensively on the Senate GOP’s jobs plan without soliciting the views of private economists on whether it will do what Republicans say it will do — create growth and jobs

    Excuse me ? It's not their job to "report " and "analyze". Their job is to put up 2 talking heads with opposing views yelling at each other so as to provide entertainment and keep the masses tuned in so they can sell pharmaceuticals to cure the latest made up disease.

  • j on October 17, 2011 3:24 PM:

    Also the republican have killed the bill to put a surcharge on China's imports into the US, which would have helped America's manufacturing industry and made us more competetive. In other words they have again killed lots of jobs.

  • T2 on October 17, 2011 3:26 PM:

    The GOP isn't into jobs, or improving the economy, or regulating the crooks that gave us the Recession. They are concentrating on defeating Obama at all costs.

  • rikyrah on October 17, 2011 3:34 PM:

    anyone with sense knew that this was what the GOP was about. all we need is for POTUS and the DEMS to stay on message about this. POTUS could use some DEM help.

  • meander on October 17, 2011 3:45 PM:

    "They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants."

    If this is all the President said about regulations, then the framing needs some serious work. I suspect that most people aren't inclined to support "regulations" as particular things without any context. What the President needs to say is the the GOP wants to let coal plants and oil refineries emits more pollutants that can make your children sick and send your grandparents to the hospital with respiratory problems. That the GOP wants to allow more carcinogens in the water. That the GOP wants more pesticides sprayed on your food. That the GOP wants to let Big Food sell meat and produce that contains dangerous bacteria. People won't fight to defend regulations, but they will fight for clean air, clean water, and safe food.

  • Jilli on October 17, 2011 4:19 PM:

    Not a very creative or fitting name for the gop's bill - I think "We think you're stupid" would be a more appropriate name.

  • square1 on October 17, 2011 5:22 PM:

    One of the classic Bushisms was "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

    Obama could honestly state a variation on this theme: "They want to gut regulations; let Wall Street do whatever it wants; drill more; and repeal health care reform...and we want to meet them halfway."

    Look, we all know that the GOP agenda blows chunks. But it is entirely maddening to listen to the President identify exactly what is wrong with the GOP agenda when he has followed a GOP-lite agenda for the past few years.

    If Obama has a problem with gutting regulations, maybe he shouldn't whine about the plight of over-regulating salmon during the SOTU (not to mention is recent failure to regulate ozone).

    If Obama has a problem with "let[ting] Wall Street do whatever it wants" maybe he should fire Tim Geithner and the rest of his advisors who were fully complicit in the economic collapse.

    If Obama has a problem with "drill[ing] more" maybe his administration shouldn't be fighting to open a tar sands pipeline. And maybe they should have cleaned up the corruption in the Interior Department before Obama declared off-shore drilling safe just before the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

    Now, I will grant that Obama doesn't want to repeal ACA, but his decision to pre-emptively capitulate to industry demands is why we got the crappy, Rube Golberg-style of health care reform that Obama is now partially dismantling because it doesn't work rather than the alternatives of a public option or Medicare buy-in.

  • MBunge on October 17, 2011 5:57 PM:

    "But it is entirely maddening to listen to the President identify exactly what is wrong with the GOP agenda when he has followed a GOP-lite agenda for the past few years."


    It is entirely maddening to listen to liberals continue to bitch about the most liberal President of their lifetimes.

    Mike

  • square1 on October 17, 2011 6:26 PM:

    MBungle, if you don't want people to laugh at you, try to keep your claims within the bounds of reason.

    There is no possible way that anyone (older than 10 years old) can credibly argue that Obama is "the most liberal President of their lifetimes". Compared to other Presidents over the past 75 years, Obama is firmly center-right.

  • Doug on October 17, 2011 6:40 PM:

    "Compared to other Presidents over the past 75 years, Obama is firmly center-right." square1

    And THAT is why you're a laughingstock.
    An ill-informed, un-reasoning, and completely lacking any basis in reality laughingstock. Just in case the first sentence wasn't clear enough...

  • square1 on October 17, 2011 6:45 PM:

    One other thing. Let's get real about President Obama's proposed jobs bill. It ain't all that. It's a combination of so-so stimulus with even more tax cuts and corporate handouts (the infrastructure bank).

    In order for Obama to leave office with a lower unemployment rate than when he took office he will need to grow the economy by an average of about 260k jobs every month. That's about 16 million jobs in the next 62 months.

    Now we aren't demanding a rapid turnaround here. We are talking 5+ years to get back to a baseline unemployment level.

    But when you understand that we need to create 16 million jobs in the next 62 months you begin to realize that Obama's stated goal of creating 2 million jobs really isn't that bold. Mind you, we aren't talking about a "pragmatic" bill that has been watered down for passage. We are talking about Obama's dream bill.

    IOW, if Obama got EVERYTHING that he wanted, the jobs bill would still be vastly insufficient to lower unemployment to an acceptable level. In short, he isn't proposing to solve the jobs problem, just put a dent in it.

    If you want me to stop complaining about Obama then he needs to start proposing SOLUTIONS. I get it that you can't always succeed and get everything that you want. But if you only propose half-assed plans that aren't designed to fully solve problems then I am going to be pissed off.

  • exlibra on October 17, 2011 6:52 PM:

    If Obama has a problem with "let[ting] Wall Street do whatever it wants" maybe he should fire Tim Geithner [...] -- square1, @5:22PM

    Yes, and replace him with... whom? When's the last time that Republicans in the Senate allowed a confirmation of any of Obama's major (or even minor) nominations? And you may think that having no Sec of Treasury is better than having Geithner, but I doubt many would agree with you.

  • Cha on October 17, 2011 7:09 PM:

    @ square 1

    You're the one who comes off as ignorant and not showing any knowledge of readily available material that proves otherwise.

  • square1 on October 17, 2011 7:22 PM:

    Sorry, Doug, I base my analysis of Obama on actual policies rather than emotional feelings for Obama or his occasionally seductive rhetoric. This isn't rocket science. All you have to ask is what types of policies a liberal administration, a center-left administration, a center-right administration, and a far right administration would be expected to pursue. Then ask what policies this administration has pursued. Sorry, but there is no way that this administration has pursued a liberal agenda in the slightest.

    On foreign policy, Obama has largely followed the Bush administration's lead on the right of the President to order regime change in foreign countries. Although I would grant that Obama has been more capable in executing his foreign policy, from a philosophical standpoint there just isn't that much daylight between the last administration and the present one.

    On energy policy, Obama has pushed for off-shore oil drilling, "clean coal", and now looks to be pushing for development of tar sands. Hell, we can debate whether these are the right policies. But they ain't liberal policies.

    Obama has been completely AWOL on climate change issues. Even when he hasn't needed Congress to act, President Obama has shown no interest in addressing climate change as a serious, indeed catastrophic, problem.

    On labor issues, Obama abandoned card check, forced unions to suck on ACA's taxes on "Cadillac" insurance plans, and ignored public-service unions in Wisconsin.

    On taxes...does it even need to be said that Obama has lowered them to the lowest levels in decades...with more cuts proposed?

    I could go on and on and on.

    On assassinating U.S. citizens abroad. Obama is liberal?

    On spying on Americans. Obama is liberal?

    On invoking the State Secrets doctrine to protect the administration from judicial oversight. Obama is liberal?

    On Wall Street reform. Refusal to break up banks. No prosecutions for criminal behavior. Pressuring state attorneys general to cut a deal on robo-signing fraud before an investigation can be completed. Obama is liberal?

    Get real. You want to vote for the guy, go ahead. Just don't try to bullshit me about his politics. He's about two inches to the left of Evan Bayh.

  • square1 on October 17, 2011 8:51 PM:

    I find it absurdly comical that Obama's defenders will go to any length to excuse his decisions. Nothing is EVER Obama's fault. If Obama EVER makes a choice that liberals are likely to criticize, then Obama must have been forced into the position completely against his will. Just don't bother looking for any actual evidence of duress.

    @exlibra: There isn't a single shred of evidence to indicate that President Obama is significantly displeased with Geithner's performance. None. Geithner serves at the pleasure of the President and the President is pleased.

    However, we both know that Geithner is indefensible as Treasury Secretary. So, rather than admitting that Obama deserves some blame for both choosing and sticking with Geithner, you concoct an absurd hypothesis that Obama only chooses to keep him on out of fear that the position would otherwise go unfilled.

    Let me ask you a question. Traditionally, if an incumbent President wins re-election there are significant changes to the cabinet. Are you seriously expecting that if Obama wins that he's going to ask all of his cabinet-level people to stay on because Obama is afraid of confirmation votes for the replacements?

    Hell, if Geithner is replaced in the next couple of years, will you admit that you were talking out of your ass and that the only reason that Geithner still has his job is that the President wants him in the position?

    @Cha: As I said, I see Obama as a clear Centrist. Ideologically, he falls somewhere in the range of term Clinton at his most neo-liberal and George H.W. Bush. That doesn't make him the worst President. Just not a liberal.

    You disagree? Fine, make an argument. But complaining isn't an argument. Whining when I point to specific policy positions where Obama rejected the liberal position is not an argument.

  • Rudy Gonzales on October 18, 2011 2:43 PM:

    American's need to compare what the TEA party members promised when they ran in 2010. They promised jobs and economic fixes! They lied! Their plan was to inhibit every action or proposal put forth by the president or the Democratic party! The worked hard to shut down, inhibit, curtail and de-fund any and all regulation or controls enacted by the previous 111th Congress! Additionally The doctor's Hippocratic Oath has been circumvented by Toxic Egotistica­l Activist(T­EA) party leaders to inhibit women's rights! Who appointed these hypocrites as masters of the universe? What give them the right to force their religious beliefs onto the American public? Weren't these Yayhoos sent with the mandate to generate jobs when they ran in 2010? It is grossly obvious that they have lied and actually tried to circumvent their fiduciary responsibility to effect jobs! So many have lost jobs, homes and lively hood while these prejudicial Taxation Eradication Anarchists(TEA) put forth legislation with absolutely no benefit except their narrow-minded beliefs. We do not go to their church and some of us don't pray to their GOD! On Thursday, House Republicans passed a bill that gives medical professionals the right to let a pregnant woman die rather than perform an abortion to save her life. The Tactical Evangelical activist(TEA) party have done more damage that is unacceptable!

  •  
  •  
  •