POTUS to Address Congress on Jobs Proposals

A week from today: Wed. Sept. 7th, at 8:00 PM. *-UPDATE: Or Thurs. the 8th. “Logistical impediments”.

It better be good. We need first-down yardage.

Image: Streetsblog.org.

25 thoughts on “POTUS to Address Congress on Jobs Proposals

  1. BrianTH

    It's tough to get first downs if you can only get them when the opposing team votes in favor.

    I think (or at least hope) the underlying political situation is in favor of extending the payroll tax cut, and maybe (big maybe) this speech could play some minor role in helping to make that happen. Otherwise, I don't really see any reason to believe Obama's speech will have any effect on that underlying political situation, and in that sense it is really mostly just a 2012 campaign speech.

  2. Bram Reichbaum

    Shade of meaning difference, but I'm not talking about the speech, I'm talking about the proposals. Make them worthwhile, make them popular and let the House Republicans vote them down. Then run on them.

  3. BrianTH

    “Make them worthwhile, make them popular”

    Ah, there's the rub. What the economists will tell you would be worthwhile, most people tend to hate.

    If Obama was a Republican, he could solve this problem by proposing stuff that would be popular, and then just assert it would work great no matter what those egg-head economists might say. The right wing media would then applaud and support him, and launch marginalizing attacks on all his critics.

    But since Obama is a Democrat, if he tries that the left wing media will savage him from proposing stuff the economists say won't work.

    That said, there are a few things that may plausibly split the difference, such as the aforementioned payroll tax cut extension. That is popular, and while the economists will give it a “meh”, at least they will admit it would be helpful. Of course some left wing critics will still claim it is a plot to destroy Social Security and Medicare, but at this point Obama has gotten used to that sort of thing.

  4. BrianTH

    By the way, noticing the image:

    Infrastructure spending is another possible split-the-difference issue (pretty popular, economists say “meh”), although you have to be careful about how you pitch it (people are very concerned about it being wasted).

  5. Conservative Mountaineer

    Meaningful proposals would include:
    1. Tell the NLRB to stand-down or be eliminated,
    2. Tell the EPA to stand-down or the Secretary is fired,
    3. Scale back Federal spending to 2008 levels,
    4. Severely curtail (maybe even end) “investments” in “green energy”, and
    4. Repeal Obamacare.

    Simply put, businesses cannot operate with the uncertainties and onerous regulations of and coming from the Obama administration. The spending level cannot be sustanied.

    Oh, and get out of impeding foreclosure efforts. Let the market bottom out. Clean out the dead wood… especially for those who used their home as an ATM. I have NO sympathy for them. None.

    But, you'll hear NONE of these. You'll hear *more spending* (oops, investments), blah, blah, blah.

    By the way, last August Obama said he was going propose a jobs plan 'when he returned from vacation'. Deja vu.

  6. BrianTH

    Anyone still using the “uncertainty” argument, particularly after the debt ceiling nonsense, has GOT to be a parody, right?

  7. MH

    That chart has always bothered me. The Bush Tax cuts would have expired except they were extended under Obama. Saying “I wanted to end some of them, but wasn't willing to end all of them” still doesn't justify leaving them all under Bush.

  8. Infinonymous

    Meaningful proposals would include:
    1. Tell the NLRB to stand-down or be eliminated,
    2. Tell the EPA to stand-down or the Secretary is fired,
    3. Scale back Federal spending to 2008 levels,
    4. Severely curtail (maybe even end) “investments” in “green energy”, and
    5. Repeal Obamacare.

    Sounds like a wishlist from Tea Partiers — the resentful, superstitious, selfish, bigoted, science- and education-disdaining wing of the Republican Party — instead of a credible prescription for improvement.

  9. BrianTH


    I think that depends in part on how you define a “policy change” (as opposed to a change in law).

    But the deeper point is that Presidents aren't dictators and most policy is formed in conjunction with Congress.

  10. rich10e

    Info…yeah Boehner's gonna let the Prez give his wish list next week sometime, after the tea party gets to watch the GOP debate….green jobs…such a joke…ask the 1100 in Fremont CA that lost their green jobs today, or the ethanol company that filed for backruptcy because the cost of buying corn was too much..gee i wonder why??? or is the failed president gonna make another joke about “shovel ready jobs”…

  11. MH

    rich10e: Somebody should try to get cleaning up South Oakland as a jobs program. You could hire somebody to give students lessons on how to put their trash in a container before they bring it to the curb.

    Brian: I understand the deeper point, but to count the whole tax cut as still Bush's is absurd at this point. Not raising taxes on the middle class was a major policy goal of Obama's and there was new legislation to keep those cuts (and all the others, because apparently he can't negotiate).

  12. Shawn Carter


    I have a hard time believing that a ethanol-producing company went out of business because corn costs too much.

    The reason family farms in the breadbasket are dying is because crop prices are too low — because AgriBusiness lobbied so successfully for agricultural and commodoties policies that made it so that only Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, etc., can profit from crop prices as low as they are.

    The average farmer certainly isn't making it even with the crop subsidies on soybeans and corn.

    The whole reason we have ethanol is itself an agricultural welfare program for corn farmers. The amount of energy we consume making it not to mention the damage it does to cars was to prop up the economy of the Farm states.

    But just like Social Security and Medicare, try getting re-elected talking about the need to eliminate Farm subsidies. Newt Gingrich's “Contract On America” gave us the FFA – the Freedom to Farm Act, which purported to do just that — except the Farm states rebelled and we have increased Farm subsidies in every year since. Bush tried to get rid of them in 2005 after he got re-elected and got the Republicans bollywhocked in the 2006 midterms, in Farm states.

    MH: You can't negotiate with psychopaths. All you can do is have them committed for their safety as well as humanity's.

  13. MH

    MH: You can't negotiate with psychopaths.

    You can also just really suck at politics and blame it on the other side being crazy. Which is to say, I agree with Bram's first comment above.

    Also, you should check out recent corn prices. Excepting the people who got flooded out, this will be a good year for corn growers.

  14. rich10e

    Shawn apparently you don't follow the commodities markets…show me low corn prices…

    Posted: Aug 31, 2011 9:50 AM EDT Updated: Aug 31, 2011 9:50 AM EDT

    RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) – The foreclosure sale of North Carolina's first ethanol plant is drawing an opening bid about equal to the loan guarantees that taxpayers gave as an incentive to develop renewable energy sources.

    The Fayetteville Observer reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/qZwZuO ) that the Clean Burn Fuels plant in the works since 2005 brought a $35 million bid from its primary lender during a foreclosure sale.

    The plant's owners filed for bankruptcy protection in April. The Raeford-based company said the price of ethanol had not kept up with the surging price of corn.

    The plant had received $35 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Agriculture Department in 2007. Millions more came from a bank loan and private investors.

    Other bidders have until next week to offer a higher bid for the plant.

    Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com

  15. BrianTH


    But as these terms are usually used, a continuation of a policy adopted in a prior Congress does not count as a “policy change”, even if it requires new legislation to continue that policy. In a nutshell, that is the difference between a current-policy and current-law baseline.

    Incidentally, in the tax deal Obama got a bunch of other things he wanted: a payroll tax cut, extension of a bunch of tax credits, extension of additional unemployment benefits, and a business writeoff provision. The things he agreed to give up were a temporary extension of the upper portions of the Bush tax cut and a temporary estate tax deal.

    Does that balance make him a bad negotiator? I don't think that is obvious.

  16. MH

    continuation of a policy adopted in a prior Congress does not count as a “policy change”

    The policy of the prior Congress was to cut these taxes until 2010. Ignoring these sunset provisions can be done selectively, if you want make a specific case, but if you ignored them in general the whole of health care reform falls apart as does any ability to separate “stimulus” spending from a general increase in spending.

  17. Bram Reichbaum

    More charts for the conservative mountaineer. My question for him/her would be, in his/her own words, why was the economy so bad throughout 2008; why did it crash? Was it because there was “business uncertainty” starting in the Iowa caucuses over whether or not the country would go ahead and elect Obama? Or was it because of what Franny and Freddy were doing to the housing market and NOT because of what Lehman, Goldman and JP were doing to it? And might some burdensome government regulation of those markets not have helped in the long view?

  18. BrianTH


    Keep in mind I think this whole project is fundamentally misleading for the reason I gave above (Presidents do not unilaterally make policy). Accordingly, I guess I don't really feel like going further in explaining how some of these current-law versus current-policy distinctions do make sense–as in pointing out that the only reason for the sunset was to avoid the Byrd Rule, not for a policy purpose, thereby distinguishing the tax cuts from fiscal measures which were truly intended to be temporary–because that implies I think the ultimate answer actually matters in some greater sense.

  19. MH

    (Presidents do not unilaterally make policy)

    True. In fact, given than with a single veto he could have stopped the extension of the Bush tax cuts, he's actually more responsible for them continuing than for much of the spending on his side of that list.

  20. Shawn Carter


    Boehner tied the Christmas-time extension of unemployment benefits to the continuation of those tax cuts.

    Obama took one for the jobless, although he gets no credit for doing so.

  21. BrianTH

    “True. In fact, given than with a single veto he could have stopped the extension of the Bush tax cuts . . . .”

    Sorry, you just contradicted yourself, because you are implying the veto gives Obama unilateral authority over fiscal policy. That, of course, isn't the case, any more than it was the case the debt ceiling law gave the House Republicans unilateral authority over fiscal policy.

    Again, Obama had other things he actually wanted Congress to pass. He got those things out of Congress in exchange for agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts. That's how it works when no one would like the status quo, but everyone has veto power–you have to reach some sort of deal.


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