On Labor Day, President Obama unveiled an ambitious plan reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. In the 50 billion dollar initiative, the president aims to improve the nation’s infrastructure, as well as lower the unemployment rate. According to the president, the plan will overhaul the nations roads, railways, and airport runways.
The crowd at the Laborfest Rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin cheered enthusiastically as the president talked about mitigating America’s job crisis.
“On this Labor Day, there are two things I want you to know, Milwaukee. Number one: I’m going to keep fighting, every single day, to turn this economy around; to put our people back to work; to renew the American Dream for your families and for future generations,” The president said.
The president’s optimistic tone resonated with the Wisconsin crowd, particularly because the state’s unemployment rate dropped over the summer as thousands of private sector jobs were created.
This plan will have an immediate effect on the national unemployment rate, which just recently rose to 9.6 percent according to the U.S. Labor department. Since 1 in 5 construction workers are currently unemployed, adding new construction jobs will provide employment opportunities for that particular group of workers.
Members of the opposition were skeptical of the president’s plan and were quick to criticize its details. One of the first critics of the plan was minority house leader John Boehner. He accused the president of peddling yet another doomed-to-fail stimulus plan. He said in a statement, after the president’s address “As the American people, facing near double-digit unemployment, mark Labor Day by asking, where are the jobs, the White House has chosen to double-down on more of the same failed ‘stimulus’ spending.”
But despite Republican opposition, Obama managed to make a convincing argument about his new policy.
“This will not only create jobs immediately, it’s also going to make our economy hum over the long haul,” he said in an attempt to persuade the audience. “it will change the way Washington spends your tax dollars; reforming the haphazard and patchwork way we fund and maintain our infrastructure to focus less on wasteful earmarks and outdated formulas, and more on competition and innovation that gives us the best bang for the buck.”
Later in the speech, the president took a characteristically political tone. He criticizes the GOP for their political obstructionism and policy proposals.
“But there are some folks in Washington who see things differently. When it comes to just about everything we’ve done to strengthen the middle class and rebuild our economy, almost every Republican in Congress said no. Even where we usually agree, they say no. They think it’s better to score political points before an election than actually solve problems. So they said no to help for small businesses. No to middle-class tax cuts. No to unemployment insurance. No to clean energy jobs. No to making college affordable. No to reforming Wall Street. Even as we speak, these guys are saying no to cutting more taxes for small business owners.”
He mocked several GOP members, including John Boehner calling him “the man who thinks he’s going to be speaker.”
Obama also criticized the GOP’s support for de-regulation and tax cuts for large businesses. Borrowing a quote from the late Ted Kennedy the president said “what is it about working men and women that they find so offensive?” Many critics say that the president has finally decided to channel rhetoric from his days as a candidate in order to help his party in the upcoming elections in November. He realizes that a republican controlled congress will be detrimental to his agenda. But despite Obama finally deciding to go into campaign mode, it’s unlikely he can do anything to prevent a big Republican victory come election time.