Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Why Obama’s Jobs Speech Will be a Nonstarter

Why Obama’s Jobs Speech Will be a Nonstarter

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

President Obama will give yet another major speech this Thursday night. He’ll speak in broad platitudes and intone about the seriousness of our predicament. He will emphasize the necessity of working together. He will, of course, offer way too little in the way of specifics, but whatever it is will have a huge price tag. And his speech will come a cropper, die aborning, stumble out of the gate, take a dirt nap. Pick your metaphor. The speech will go the way of all of his other featured addresses, which is to say, precisely nowhere. Why? As Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, “let me count the ways” or at least the three main ones. 

First, Obama talks too much. He’s a man of big words and small deeds, long on rhetoric and short on results. In fact, his administration has produced no sustained economic growth in its existence. We’ve heard the reasons for this failure repeatedly and the only thing that changes is the length of the list. It grows. And grows. Bush, the evils inherent in the American financial industry, the Tea Party, the Republican House majority, the Tea Party, the tsunami in Japan. But, when the smoke is blown away, what remains is what Obama has actually done. And it is a pitifully small pile of inconsequential, albeit costly, programs.

Lest we forget, the Republican congressional majority has existed for only the last eight months – only twenty-five percent of Obama’s time in office. For the first 24 months, he had his way with Congress, to the point of losing control of the House in the 2010 elections. What were the president’s economic accomplishments during that two year period? Absolutely nothing that had a sustainable impact. Much of what he did had no impact at all.

The futility of the administration’s efforts to jump start the economy is not limited to embarrassing hype programs like Cash for Clunkers. A much more telling example is Obama’s efforts to resurrect the housing market, the other elephant in the room that he mostly ignores. There was HAMP, 2MP, HAFA, PRA, HAUP and several others. Despite those efforts, and the billon$ they cost, the housing market is now in a double-dip recession. You could argue successfully that it never arose from the first one. But, economists agree that, if it did, it fell into the second one last May. So much for the power of acronyms over actions.

Second, with his majority in the House a thing of the past, Obama must compromise to move the country forward. But, he either misunderstands compromise or simply can’t bring himself to engage in it. That’s really a coin toss. Compromise is not in his nature. For example, he is advertising his Thursday night speech, with its first word yet to be heard, as “bipartisan”. This billing could simply be political, as in everything the president says is bipartisan and therefore anyone who disagrees with him is necessarily partisan.

Or, as likely, Obama believes that if he moves away from any part of his original agenda, he is being bipartisan. But, this belief, of course, ignores the meaning of the word. Bipartisan means of, relating to or involving representatives of two different parties. Unless you suffer from a mental disorder like schizophrenia, you can’t be bipartisan all by yourself. The president needs to come to grips with this fact and stop listening to the little voices both in his head and in his administration. He actually has to involve Republicans in defining solutions. Simply making unilateral pronouncements and daring his opponents not to accept them isn’t bipartisanship. But, it is a strategy for failure.

Third, making a significant, and sustainable, reduction in the unemployment rate is beyond Obama’s capabilities and those of his hand-picked advisors. This reason is the crux of the problem with all of his speechifying. He’s not very good at politics, but he’s even worse at problem solving. To gain acceptance of his ideas, he preys on people’s fears, distorts opposing viewpoints and protects sacred cows beyond our ability to support them. None of this will fix our unemployment quandary.

Joblessness cannot be dealt with in the vast vacuum of political posturing. The unemployment rate will come down when the economy recovers and not before, at least not in a lasting way. Getting the economy on track means taking strong actions. We are way past short-term fixes for political advantage. We need: (a) tax reform including, among other things, incentives to business, (b) repeal of much of the costly, burdensome business regulations put in place since 2009, and (c) a serious commitment to deficit reduction, which requires effective entitlement reform. These actions create the stable environment that businesses need in order to recover and begin hiring in earnest again.

The good news for Obama is that if he can get those things done, he can also get re-elected. But, as long as his speeches are major and his actions minor, he doesn’t stand a chance. And that’s good news for everyone else.

See you on the left-side.

Powered by

About Sidney and Riley

  • Arch Conservative

    Spot on analysis Sidney.

    Much better than the usual Obamabot rhetoric emitting forth from BC like a massive steaming river of dung these days.

  • tr oll

    …what makes you think that the economy will rebound if only the government directs more money to businesses – permits them to function under ’08 regulations – and cuts medicaid and medicare?

    the claim that these policies will create a ‘stable’ business environment is baseless

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    “he prays on people’s fears” (pg 2)
    Lo! so you’ve found one little bright spot have ye? (or I’ve redeemed one little typo.)

    There are plenty of people’s fears to pray on, over, and through. Turning patches of lawn into food crops, and learning to love rice’n’beans, (or greens’n’beans…or beans’n’beans) is also a good idea.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    …looking for canned food on sale, helping to stock food banks…I’m trying to come up with other useful things he might suggest in the speech…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    … get out of a war or two…or three…this would put quite a few people in the defense industry out of work, but only temporarily, if we could assign other useful things for them to do, like making alternative forms of energy affordable…

  • Igor

    Clearly, directing more money to the business sector won´t work. They already have $2trillion capital lying fallow, with another $2trillion dormant in the banking sector. More money to business is like pushing a rope. Dormant capital is the bane of supply-side economics, and a demand drought hurts even more.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Obama did acknowledge the need to reduce regulations, via aJanuary 11 Executive Order “requiring executive agencies to reduce regulations that place unnecessary burdens on American businesses.” He softened this requirement, though, with the assurance that this order was made “with full respect for the independence of your agencies.” He gave bureaucrats, whose bread-and-butter is making rules “…to produce your own plans to reassess and streamline regulations.”

    These federal agencies are so far-reaching and often down-right predatory, working hand-in-tentacle with corporations concerned about losing market share to smaller, more ethical producers. Obama’s Executive Order is only a token attempt to get them under control. Some of them need to be disbanded altogether, or subject to LOCAL oversight.

    “FDA raids Amish Farmer’s Organic Dairy”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    You should take care not to fall into the trap of throwing out the baby with the bath water. EVERY human organization – government, commercial, religious, whatever – will make mistakes…and we must take care to avoid condemning the whole for the mistakes of the few.

    For instance, should we disband the whole FDA because of the raid you referenced? How then would we track down the source of deadly E coli contamination? How would we hold meat processors to the standards required to minimize the likelihood of ‘mad-cow’ disease? I can go on all day with examples like this to show the importance of the role the FDA plays in our everyday lives.

    For every specific complaint you have about government agencies, I would challenge you to research what those agencies do, and how the absence of those agencies would affect your own everyday life.

    The conservatives are so quick to condemn the whole for the actions of the few (see “ACORN”). I would recommend that you avoid falling into the same habit.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    An FDA free of corporate influence and subject to public oversight would be quite useful, yes.

    You jumped from “Some of them need to be disbanded altogether, or subject to LOCAL oversight” to “Should we disband the FDA because of the raid you referenced?”

    Your eyes just hopped right OVER the “or subject to local oversight” didn’t they, Glenn?
    I know you said you were trying to be more careful about that kind of mistake, but sometimes we all need reminders.

    So, I won’t put words into YOUR mouth, Glenn, but I will ask you, do you think President Obama’s Executive Order will be effective in reigning in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on the FDA? Do you think there is inappropriate corporate influence over the FDA, or on federal agencies in general?

    Do you think small businesses would be helped if federal regulations were relaxed? Obama expressed that opinion, when he made the executive order. What sort of agencies and regulations do you think he had in mind?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I agree that government agencies should be free of corporate influence…

    …but reliance on LOCAL oversight is not the benefit you think it is. It is so much easier for a corporation to influence a local government than it is to influence the federal government, because local influence is so much more easily bought since local government functionaries are much less public and paid significantly less than their federal counterparts.

    Your argument is akin to the “state’s rights” argument of the conservatives…but what you’re forgetting is that nearly ALL federal regulation carries the allowance that state or local governments may enforce stricter requirements (see California’s auto emissions laws), but not less restrictive requirements.

    Think about the examples I gave – do you really, truly think that state or local governments could effectively enforce necessary regulations when the far more powerful federal government already has such a hard time getting corporations to obey the law? Do you really?

    And are federal regulations really, truly hindering business to the extent that conservatives claim? Or is it more the lack of access to capital? I can tell you right now that it’s the second and NOT the first reason.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn, it was OBAMA (not “the conservatives”) who issued an executive order calling for rolling back regulations that would hinder businesses. Again, what sort of agencies and regulations do you think President Obama had in mind when he issued that order? The EPA? FDA? Executive orders aren’t to be made frivolously.

    As to the relative effectiveness of local and federal oversight, I could give you a number of stories that document the incompetence and corruption of federal agencies doing things that were being managed perfectly well at the local level. (Slightly tangential, but utterly infuriating.)

    Yes, lack of capital from lenders has been holding businesses back; there’s really nothing to argue about there. But again, Obama decided regulations were enough of a problem that he issued an executive order about them, and I’ve been asking you about that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I didn’t make an excuse for Obama, did I? What I DID do was to effectively refute your point about relying too heavily on local regulation.

    And all your ‘stories’ are not much more than cherry-picking, because there WILL be waste and corruption in ANY organization – federal, state, local, governmental, religious, military, corporate, commercial, whatever. If an organization has HUMAN BEINGS in it, there WILL be some corruption and waste…and all you can do about it is to try to minimize it by force of regulation and law.

    Again, I made no excuse for what Obama did or said concerning that executive order, because I disagree with it…and, having seen his proclivity for deal-making, he probably disagreed with it too but supported it in order to make a deal on some other issue.

    But if you really want, Irene, you can start telling me what agencies you want to get rid of, and I’ll reply by showing you (in the great majority of cases) just how getting rid of it would be a really bad idea and how it would affect you personally.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    No indeed, Glenn, you didn’t make any excuse for Obama. In fact, it took you about three comments of my questioning you about the Executive Order for you to admit that you actually disagreed with him about the need for federal agencies to reduce their regulations.

    Thanks Glenn. That’s all I was asking.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Sorry – I was too busy responding to other issues that you brought up. I was trying to address your overall paradigm rather than your complaint about one action by Obama.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Wait a minute, Glenn. YOU were the one who was complaining (or disagreeing) with Obama about the need to reduce federal regulations. I was agreeing with him about the need for that to be done, but sorry he wasn’t going far enough.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    In an attempt to find SOME sort of common ground here: I can’t think of a single industry that wouldn’t end up screwing people (consumers AND employees) if there weren’t some sort of regulation, some sort of oversight. We disagree on how much and where it should be coming from, but we can agree that in some form, it should be there.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    Okay – you were agreeing with him and I was disagreeing with him and I forgot that you were disagreeing with him in my effort to address your paradigm.

    But we can agree that regulation is necessary, though we disagree on the degree and source of regulation.

    So…one question – what nation that has first-world living standards has the lower degree of regulations and dearth of federal regulations that you believe are better for economic growth?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Wow, that sure wouldn’t be the United States Glenn, which has a higher percentage of its people in jail than any other country on earth.

    BINGO! Another point of common ground. BATF and the Drug War. Let’s cut the living crap out of their budget, and redistribute the funds as loans to small businesses.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    You should know I’m strongly against the drug war, too, Irene.

    But how about laying off the sarcasm and instead see if you can answer my challenge?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    ??? I know you are against the Drug War. That’s why I said, “BINGO! Another point of common ground.” What we have here, Glenn, is a failure to communicate.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Even Dave Nalle and I have some areas where we find common ground. There are some things that Ron Paul says with which I agree. But that doesn’t make me want to join either of them, for there is far more with which I strongly disagree.

    Soooo…how about that challenge?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    (As to the answer to your challenge. I liked the USA pre-1913 answer that was given to you to that question on another thread. I can also link you to a physician describing how America’s medical system was the envy of the world before the HMO Act of 1973 regulations drove costs sky high.

    Note, the countries in BOTH examples given in response to your challenge are the USA: pre-regulation. It wouldn’t be too hard to turn to back the clock a little.

    TOTALLY DIFFERENT TOPIC
    Glenn, am I keeping you up too late with all this arguing? I will stop if you say yes. You seem to be making mistakes that indicate you need sleep. That’s said out of compassion, not snarkiness. I know how strong the urge can be to have the last word on the internet.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Also an apology for comment 19 would be nice. That was really uncalled for, Glenn.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    And even if YOU can’t see that you’re making a lot of mistakes (here and on the Libya thread) that are making it really hard to communicate with you, I can see it, so I think I’m going to say goodnight to you now. (Apology accepted.)

  • Clavos

    @#12:

    What I DID do was to effectively refute your point about relying too heavily on local regulation.

    No, you didn’t Glenn. You merely presented your (unsupported) opinion as to why Irene was wrong on the point.

    That’s not a refutation; it’s a disagreement.

    And it’s a characteristic error in your arguments.

  • troll

    …and what if the Prez does come out tonight and tell us not to worry about jobs because The Aliens have arrived to save us?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn, I have an apology to make to you. It occurred to me last night: since you have given your life to serving in the Navy, watching me, over the months, post links to antiwar sites might seem like the height of ingratitude, and possibly very hurtful. I want to say that I don’t lay at your feet the blame for what others have done deceptively. You thought you were doing the right thing. I’ve been arguing with the wrong person about these things, and I’m sorry.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I effectively pointed out why Irene’s argument was erroneous…and the fact that you disagree with my argument does not
    refute what I said. Why? Because I provided support for my argument, and the fact that you do not accept that support for what it is, does NOT mean that my argument was not supported.

    And yet again you committed the characteristic error of your arguments – you rely heavily on logical argument, but you provide no concrete support for your argument. And you’ve said it yourself – “no” is all you need to say or do, and that you don’t need to defend your negative stance.

  • Clavos

    I effectively pointed out why Irene’s argument was erroneous…

    No, actually you didn’t, Glenn, you presented her your opinion as to why it was erroneous; this:

    …but reliance on LOCAL oversight is not the benefit you think it is. It is so much easier for a corporation to influence a local government than it is to influence the federal government, because local influence is so much more easily bought since local government functionaries are much less public and paid significantly less than their federal counterparts.

    …is, again, an opinion not a refutation — it presents no evidence proving its veracity.

    And this:

    Your argument is akin to the “state’s rights” argument of the conservatives…but what you’re forgetting is that nearly ALL federal regulation carries the allowance that state or local governments may enforce stricter requirements (see California’s auto emissions laws), but not less restrictive requirements.

    While in and of itself is a true statement, it does not even address Irene’s assertions in #9, much less refute them.

  • Clavos

    The point is, Glenn, that while you may be right that local government thieves are more easily suborned than federal crooks, you merely stated your opinion in that regard; you didn’t present any evidence (such as a statistical comparison of arrests of local officials with those of federals on a per capita basis, for instance) that proves that is true.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Having listened to the speech, I can state the following:

    1 – President Obama presented ONLY ideas that have been supported by Republicans, and

    2 – the fastest way of getting the Republicans to reject an idea that they previously supported, is for the black guy in the White House to support the same idea…just as many Republicans began rejecting the idea of a payroll tax cut less than two weeks ago.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Is it only an opinion that:

    – without the FDA, we’d have no way to track the E coli infections across several states to find the source, or

    – without the FDA, we’d have no way to hold meat processors to the same high standard to minimize the risk of ‘mad-cow’ disease’, or

    – that nearly ALL federal regulation carries the allowance that state or local governments may enforce stricter requirements (see California’s auto emissions laws), but not less restrictive requirements, or

    – it is so much easier for a corporation to influence a local government than it is to influence the federal government, because local influence is so much more easily bought since local government functionaries are much less public and paid significantly less than their federal counterparts, or

    – that state or local governments could not effectively enforce necessary regulations when the far more powerful federal government already has such a hard time getting multinational (read: NOT American) corporations to obey the law?

    Are these really only opinions? Come now, Clavos, you KNOW better than that. You KNOW these are facts…and the ONLY thing keeping you from agreeing with them wholeheartedly is your refusal to admit the necessity of broad federal regulation for our protection (and the refusal to admit that the liberals might be right about it).

    Without strong federal oversight, you will have no way to track E coli or salmonella or ‘mad cow’ or any other infected food, and you will not have a real system to prevent growers from using the very worst pesticides and herbicides that DO find their way into our food.

    Without strong federal oversight, you will have multinational (read: NOT American) corporations buying off state and local officials far more cheaply and MUCH less publicly than they can those in Washington.

    To put it in military terms, Clavos, without a strong federal government – as flawed as it is (since it contains humans) – our nation would be defeated in detail…not by military force, but by multinational (read: NOT American) corporations using their financial influence to get their way no matter how bad it is for the American people.

    Which, come to think of it, is precisely what our corporations have been doing for generations. Do you really want other nations’ corporations do to us what we’ve been doing to them? Do you really?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/haveno handyguy

    31: You may be right, Glenn, but it was a bracingly strong speech, even coming close to being downright fiery occasionally.

  • Clavos

    Glenn, you ask:

    Is it only an opinion that:

    – without the FDA, we’d have no way to track the E coli infections across several states to find the source,

    Yes. There is nothing in your argument that proves that it must be done and can only be done by the FDA. There are other organizations (including the Dept. of Agriculture) which could effectively perform the same function, and the same goes for much of the rest of HHS while we’re at it.

    - without the FDA, we’d have no way to hold meat processors to the same high standard to minimize the risk of ‘mad-cow’ disease’

    Yes. See above. Much of that is already handled by USDA.

    it is so much easier for a corporation to influence a local government than it is to influence the federal government, because local influence is so much more easily bought since local government functionaries are much less public and paid significantly less than their federal counterparts,

    Yes. This one’s Really just your opinion, since most policing in the country is already handled on a state and local level, and many state governments are much more efficient than the numbnuts in DC.

    – that state or local governments could not effectively enforce necessary regulations when the far more powerful federal government already has such a hard time getting multinational (read: NOT American) corporations to obey the law?

    Um, Glenn, they are “not American” (your words) No American government has authority over foreigners except to keep them out, and any state can do that. Foreign ship lines get busted here in Miami all the time by local authorities. Hell, thanks to US maritime unions’ onerous pay and work rules, practically ALL the ships in the world are flagged elsewhere, including ALL of the American-owned cruise lines.

  • Clavos

    Here, Glenn, I fixed this statement for you:

    the fastest way of getting the Republicans to reject an idea that they previously supported, is for the [Democrat] guy in the White House to support the same idea.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    FDA and Big PHARma sittin’ in a tree, K-i-s-s-i-n-g.

    Click on the “A new action alert” in this article to register your disgust.

    An excerpt:The draft guidance clearly outlines the conditions under which an ingredient is considered an NDI (a new supplement) and when it is considered grandfathered. Further, it details the circumstances under which it is necessary to submit a notification for an NDI and when it is not. Not surprisingly, the FDA has applied a very narrow definition of grandfathered dietary ingredients, and so by extension a very broad definition of NDI…So if the ingredient is not absolutely identical to its pre-1994 counterpart, then it is considered an NDI and subject to NDI notification/approval.

    Drug companies can exploit this process by trying to patent common dietary ingredients as drugs before supplement companies have an opportunity to submit their NDI notifications. Once a drug company investigates an ingredient for drug purposes and publishes their findings, the ingredient can no longer be used in supplements. This has happened before–it happened with the pyridoxamine form of vitamin B6 we mentioned above. In other words, what was once a supplement available to consumers at low cost will now be an expensive prescription-only drug, if it is available at all. (And it’s not only the drug that costs more: you’ll need to pay your doctor for an office visit just to get the prescription!)