Well, the bus tour is drawing to an end and I bet the president can’t get to Martha’s Vineyard a moment too soon. Listening to real people isn’t so much fun after all.
Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times observes:
President Obama did some real good talking the last few days out there in Iowa and Minnesota and Illinois. Well, he did a lot of talking anyway.
As Malcolm points out, the president doesn’t sound like he’s done spending our (increasingly) meager funds:
We’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports….
On the road, the president announced his new “rural jobs plan.” It includes trying to make more capital available and job training. As an advocate of jobs rather than job training, I wasn’t favorably impressed. Alana Goodman of the Commentary blog quotes economists who say that the president’s plan won’t create new jobs, though it could shift urban jobs to rural areas. Since there are fewer consumers in the country, Goodman noted, the president’s plan could actually end up producing less revenue. Can’t resist quoting this:
Phillip Swagel, former assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department, told ABC News? that Obama’s plan is “akin to putting a new ribbon on last year’s birthday present and using it as a gift again” – which is a pretty apt comparison. The proposals may end giving the appearance of job creation in rural communities, while producing no overall increase in the number of workers.
Meanwhile, details of the president’s plans to create jobs-which he will announce after Labor Day-are beginning to emerge. The Washington Post has them:
The president is thinking about proposing tax cuts for companies that hire workers, new spending for roads and construction, and other measures that would target the long-term unemployed, according to administration officials and other people familiar with the matter. Some ideas, such as providing mortgage relief for struggling homeowners, could come through executive action.
Obama also plans to announce a major push for new deficit reduction, urging the special congressional committee formed in the debt-ceiling deal this month to identify even more savings than the $1.5 trillion it has been tasked with finding.
May I help “identify” some ways to save money? I could phone them in right now. Also, wasn’t the congressional committee already assigned the job of finding new cuts, even before the tired, old details of the president’s plan were leaked?
Seriously, though, these leaked details are disappointing but hardly surprising. Companies don’t hire because they get a tax break that may be short-lived. They hire because they need workers and they have a reasonable belief that they can afford to do so. A good economy is the first indication that hiring new workers won’t backfire.