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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shaping the Debate over Job Creation

Robert Reich explains why the Obama administration will not pursue a "bold jobs plan":

Why the President Doesn’t Present a Bold Plan to Create Jobs and Jumpstart the Economy, by Robert Reich: ...Even though the President’s two former top economic advisors (Larry Summers and Christy Roemer) have called for a major fiscal boost to the economy, the President has remained mum. Why?
I’m told White House political operatives are against a bold jobs plan. They believe the only jobs plan that could get through Congress would be so watered down as to have almost no impact by Election Day. They also worry the public wouldn’t understand how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction. And they fear Republicans would use any such initiative to further bash Obama as a big spender.
So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it’s politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama – to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington’s paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public’s attention from the President’s failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia. ...
There’s still time for political operatives in the White House – and the person they work for – to change their minds. ... But for now the President is being badly advised. The magnitude of the current jobs and growth crisis demands a boldness and urgency that’s utterly lacking. As the President continues to wallow in the quagmire of long-term debt reduction, Congress is on summer recess and the rest of Washington is asleep.
The President should present a bold plan, summon lawmakers back to Washington to pass it, and, if they don’t, vow to fight for it right up through Election Day.

It seems to me what the president and his advisors are really saying is that they are no match for the Republicans when it comes to shaping a debate in their favor. Instead of cowering under the threat of what Republicans might do if they take certain steps, e.g. not allowing a sufficient jobs plan to pass, and then hanging any failures on the obstructionists, they have given up before even trying. They are convinced Republicans will win the debate.

And the real problem is that they are probably right.

    Posted by on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Politics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (76)


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