The AP reports today, “President Barack Obama will lay out new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class in a major speech designed to jolt the economy in early September, a senior administration official told The Associated Press. . . . The official emphasized that all of Obama’s proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his ‘infrastructure bank’ idea to finance construction jobs.”
The White House may be claiming Obama will be presenting new proposals, but the “major speech” on the economy aspect certainly sounds familiar. In fact, before the president was even sworn in in 2009, his transition website announced that “President-Elect Barack Obama will deliver a major speech on the economy” on January 8, 2009. In April 2009, the White House announced, “President Barack Obama will deliver a major speech on the economy Tuesday, April 14th, at Georgetown University.” In November of that year, AFP reported, “US President Barack Obama is to give a ‘major’ speech on the economy Monday, one year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked a global financial crisis, the White House said.” An AP headline in December 2009 announced, “Obama To Promote New Job Ideas During Tuesday Speech.” Reporting on his 2010 State of the Union address, an AP story, headlined “In key speech Obama pledges to create jobs,” noted “an embattled President Barack Obama vowed in his first State of the Union address Wednesday night to make job growth his topmost priority and urged a divided Congress to boost the still-ailing economy with a new burst of stimulus spending.” The Hill wrote in June 2010, “Obama offered his criticism of the lack of GOP cooperation he’s seen in office in a major speech on the economy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.” The Christian Science Monitor noted in September 2010, “It’s no accident President Obama is delivering a major speech on economic recovery in Ohio, a struggling state that makes or breaks presidencies.” And in January 2011, CNN reported,” President Barack Obama plans to deliver a major speech next month to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the organization said Wednesday. . . . ‘He’s going to come here and give a speech on jobs and the economy,’ Tom Collamore, senior vice president of communications at the Chamber of Commerce told CNN.”
So it sounds like the president is going to give another in a long string of speeches on the economy that haven’t amounted to much. Indeed, in its piece on Obama’s latest speech plans, Reuters writes, “The White House on Wednesday said President Barack Obama would unveil fresh ideas to jump-start the economy and cut deficits, but details offered so far appeared to be a compilation of old proposals. Obama faces serious doubts among Americans about his economic leadership and is now trying to convince skeptical voters and Wall Street that he has a workable plan to keep the United States from dipping back into recession. . . . Obama, who has been criticized in recent weeks by political opponents, allies on the left and Wall Street for repackaging old job-growth ideas, will be under pressure to say something new.”
In contrast to another speech of “old proposals” from the president, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) has an op-ed in The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer today outlining ideas that have bipartisan support, which he calls “surefire job creators Congress could take up and pass this year.” Among the ideas he proposes are more domestic energy production, reforming and simplifying the tax code, regulatory relief for job creators, approval of long-pending free trade agreements, and real health care reform like allowing consumers to purchase insurance across state lines.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said back in July, “I know the President would rather give speeches about our problems than resolve them. But he wasn’t elected to talk about the United States, he was elected to lead it.” Will this time be different?
# Senate News Briefing