Sunday, August 21, 2011

Robert Reich: Why Doesn't The President Present A Bold Jobs Plan?

With consumers insecure about jobs, wages and the value of their homes, they’re not spending. Consequently, businesses aren’t hiring. Robert Reich (left) argues that we need a bold jobs plan from the Obama administration. Due to political fears, however, Obama is being advised not to fight for such a proposal. Instead, the president is playing on the Republicans’ turf, concentrating on the deficit rather than what will really pull the economy out of the ditch: jobs. Reich explains:

Americans are deeply confused about why the economy is so bad – and their President isn’t telling them. In fact, the White House apparently has decided to join with Republicans and blame it on the long-term budget deficit.

...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.

...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.

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