Obama's Best Kept Secret
How can a president presiding over the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression have no jobs plan for his next term? And why is no one talking about this glaring hole in his campaign?
On the presidential campaign trail this week, the GOP once again pointed out President Obama's failure to create jobs. But to fail at creating jobs, Obama would first have had to try.
The president hasn't made a serious effort at that in a year. At present, he has no actionable jobs plan. Worse yet, his campaign platform for the next four years is completely devoid of a serious future jobs plan of any kind -- a stunning omission give the employment crisis in this country.
Will Obama actually be allowed to waltz back into office with no plan to combat unemployment? And if that happens, will he feel any obligation to ever address the unemployment situation again in his second term?
Mitt Romney's campaign needs to clearly, succinctly ask these questions.
More than anything, Americans want Obama to tackle unemployment. In 2010, they told Gallup it was the biggest problem facing the country. In a 2011 poll, nearly 90 percent of Americans told Gallup the same thing. In a 2012 Gallup poll, 92 percent ranked job creation as their top priority for the president.
In his podcast this week, Mitt Romney came maddeningly close to walloping Obama with the truth, accusing Obama of "giving up" on fighting unemployment. But Romney failed to deliver a knock-out punch on the issue by clearly explaining that Obama has no employment plan for his next term.
Given the dire political situation Obama now faces, it is shocking how devoid Obama's campaign is of any promise or even plan to improve the jobs situation in his next term -- an omission that would be unthinkable for any other politician.
Take Obama's campaign website for instance. Front and center is the Obama campaign's "Plan for the Economy." The five planks of this plan, which are the five main planks of his campaign, flash across the screen. They are: lead the world in college graduates by 2020, invest in clean energy made in America, spur innovation, rebuild American infrastructure, and reform the American tax code to tackle the deficit. Note the absence of the words "jobs" or "employment." To read it, you'd have no idea that what the vast majority of Americans care most about is jobs.
Dig deeper into the website, and jobs are mentioned on occasion, but only as part of Obama's supposed accomplishments. The problem with this is that the employment picture has gotten worse, not better, since these measures were first implemented.
While the word "jobs" does appear in the campaign's "vision" statement for his next term, it is not as part of a jobs plan, but as a byproduct of planned government infrastructure spending. His "vision" includes "strengthening our education system, more cleaner [sic] energy, leading through innovation, building job creating infrastructure and fair, simple tax reform."
It's a campaign platform that seems almost completely divorced from the economic reality regular Americans currently face.
More interesting still is the fact that the proposal Obama has spent the most time focusing on over the last year on the campaign trail, increasing taxes on wealthy Americans, comes in dead last when Gallup asks Americans to rank their priorities for the next president.
Given all this, you can draw only one conclusion. Americans who want private-sector jobs are utterly on their own if Obama wins.
It makes sense, of course, that the Obama campaign wouldn't want to focus the public's attention on unemployment or the economy in this election, given the dire state of both. What is harder to explain is why the employment issue is absent entirely from his top priorities.
The pass Obama is getting on his jobs record is staggering. Faced with this situation, most politicians would have proposed some kind of clearly labeled jobs plan and made it one of their top campaign priorities, if only to appear to be doing something.
Beyond bickering with the Republicans over how many jobs have been created since he took office, which he does regularly, Obama has been strikingly mum on exactly how he plans to create private-sector jobs in the future since the stimulus tanked early in his presidency.
The stimulus, the closest thing he's ever had to a jobs plan, was sold to the public as an economic stimulus, not a jobs stimulus. Although it came with employment promises that never materialized, the economy was its main focus. The stimulus passed in February of 2009, nearly three and a half years ago.
By May of 2011, with 70 percent of the stimulus funds spent, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent, up from 8.1 percent the month the stimulus passed.
A second "jobs" stimulus with massive spending was rejected outright by leaders of Obama's own party in the Democrat-controlled Senate, who wouldn't even allow it to be voted on, in 2011. It failed to pass the GOP-controlled House as well. Since then, aside from blaming Congress for rejecting his legislation, Obama has dropped the issue almost entirely.
Incredibly, the only concrete move Obama has made on unemployment since his original stimulus passed, the appointment of his jobs council, has fallen by the wayside, Politico recently reported:
President Barack Obama's Jobs Council hasn't met publicly for six months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election. At this point, the hiatus - which reached the half-year mark Tuesday - might be less awkward than an official meeting, given the hornet's nest of issues that could sting Obama and the council members if the private-sector panel gets together.
The Obama administration's excuse for not meeting with the CEOs and others on his jobs council in a year when 92 percent of Americans ranked jobs as their highest priority issue for the president?
"He's simply been too busy, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told Politico in July, explaining that "the president has obviously got a lot on his plate."
One thing is for sure. For Obama and for Washington's liberal political elites, this election will answer one all-important question. How much joblessness will Americans tolerate in pursuit of their agenda?
If the dust settles on Election Day with Obama still standing, Washington's political class will know that going forward, there will be few consequences at the polls if their increasingly radical social policies depress the job market. That fear has been one of the few restraints left on their agenda.
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