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Just More Words: Second Term Jobs Agenda?

- July 2, 2012

Americans Are Still Waiting To Hear What Obama Would Do About Jobs In A Second Term

OBAMA’S SECOND TERM AGENDA IS SHORT ON BIG IDEAS

Obama Campaigned In 2008 “With A Long List Of Ambitious Goals” But “This Time Around, His Scope Is Smaller.” “President Barack Obama campaigned for president in 2008 with a long list of ambitious goals. Among them: cut middle-class taxes, tackle climate change, cover the uninsured, overhaul Wall Street regulations and pass sweeping immigration changes. This time around, his scope is smaller.” (Laura Meckler and Carol E. Lee, “Obama’s More Modest Pitch,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/13/12)

  • Obama’s Campaign Speech, TV Ads, And Website Are Primarily Focused On Attacking Romney And Defending Obama’s Record Rather Than Outlining A Second Term. “Mr. Obama's new campaign speech, along with his first big round of television ads and his website, are largely devoted to defending his record as president and critiquing his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, rather than describing the vision of a second Obama term.” (Laura Meckler and Carol E. Lee, “Obama’s More Modest Pitch,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/13/12)
     
  • “Lately, Much Of Mr. Obama's Time Has Been Spent On More Narrow Matters, Often Chosen In An Effort To Draw Political Contrasts With Republicans.” (Laura Meckler and Carol E. Lee, “Obama’s More Modest Pitch,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/13/12)

Today, It’s About The Drug War

According To Obama Aides, Obama Will Tackle The Drug War In A Second Term. “According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War.” (Marc Ambinder, “Exclusive: In His Second Term, Obama Will Pivot To The Drug War,” GQ, 7/2/12)

  • Obama Won’t “Draw Attention To The Issue” Before November. “Beyond that, since the United Ststes isn't about to legalize or regulate the illegal narcotics markets, the best thing a president can do may be what Obama winds up doing if he gets re-elected: using the bully pulpit to draw attention to the issue. But he won't do so before November.” (Marc Ambinder, “Exclusive: In His Second Term, Obama Will Pivot To The Drug War,” GQ, 7/2/12)

Before, It Was About Cap-And-Trade

Obama Has Said The Most Important Policy He Could Address In A Second Term Is Climate Change. “Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda, which, at least in broad ways, his campaign is beginning to highlight. The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change, one of the few issues that he thinks could fundamentally improve the world decades from now.” (Ryan Lizza, “The Second Term,” The New Yorker, 6/18/12)

  • In His Second Term Obama Promises “To Deal With Climate Change In A Serious Way.”  OBAMA: “Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people's number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it's been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way. That there's a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation – that taking steps, for example, to retrofit buildings all across America with existing technologies will reduce our power usage by 15 or 20 percent. That's an achievable goal, and we should be getting started now.” (Jann S. Wenner, “Ready For The Fight: Rolling Stone Interview With Barack Obama,” Rolling Stone, 4/25/12)

Obama Would Bring Back Cap-And-Trade If Reelected. “We have to have an even more robust energy policy if we’re going to create the kind of jobs in this new energy sector that are needed and we’re going to deal with climate change in a serious way.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event, San Francisco, CA, 2/17/12)

From The Very Beginning, It’s Been About Ending The Bush Tax Cuts

Several White House Advisers Say Obama May Allow All Of The Bush Tax Cuts To Expire. “Several White House officials I talked to made it clear that if a deal, or at least the framework for a deal, is not reached before December 31st Obama would allow all the Bush tax cuts to expire—a tactic that would achieve huge deficit reduction, but in a particularly painful and ill-conceived fashion.” (Ryan Lizza, “The Second Term,” The New Yorker, 6/18/12)

Obama Has Said He Is “Agnostic” On Raising Taxes On Those Making Less Than $250,000 As Part Of A Plan To Reduce The Deficit. “President Barack Obama said he is ‘agnostic’ about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.  Obama, in a Feb. 9 Oval Office interview, said that a presidential commission on the budget needs to consider all options for reducing the deficit, including tax increases and cuts in spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.” (Rich Miller, “Obama ‘Agnostic’ On Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases,” Bloomberg,2/11/10)

  • President Obama Was “Intrigued By [The] Elegance” Of Allowing All Of The Bush Tax Cuts To Expire In Order To Cut The Deficit. “In November 2009, Orszag would tout an idea that divided the economic team and inspired contempt in the political shop: extending for one or two years George W. Bush’s middle class cuts, which were scheduled to expire in 2011, then letting them lapse unless Congress found a way to offset their costs. During a meeting with Obama in the Oval Office, he casually outlined the proposal. The obvious defect was that it would be likely to break the president’s campaign pledge to oppose tax increases on the middle class. Nevertheless, Obama was intrigued by its elegance as a deficit-cutting maneuver, according to two people in the room. He also liked the idea of forcing Republicans to grapple with the costs of Bush’s policies. Only later did the politicos revolt—the vice president, for one, was apoplectic—and the president lost interest.” (Noam Scheiber, The Escape Artists,  2012, p. 154-155)
     
  • Obama Would Block Extension Of The Reductions, Either As A Final Act In Office After Losing The November 2012 Election Or After Winning A Second Term.” “A White House official argued Sunday that the president had another trump card to play: the scheduled expiration of the George W. Bush tax cuts at the end of 2012. Obama would block extension of the reductions, either as a final act in office after losing the November 2012 election or after winning a second term.” (Peter Wallsten and David Nakamura, “Did Obama Capitulate – Or Is This A Cagey Move?” The Washington Post, 7/31/11)
     
  • In 2013, Obama Will Increase Taxes By $3.6 Trillion Over The Next Ten Years “And All Democrats Need To Do To Secure That Deal Is...Nothing.” “But Democrats will have their turn. On Dec. 31, 2012, three weeks before the end of President Barack Obama’s current term in office, the Bush tax cuts expire. Income tax rates will return to their Clinton-era levels. That amounts to a $3.6 trillion tax increase over 10 years, three or four times the $800 billion to $1.2 trillion in revenue increases that Obama and Speaker John Boehner were kicking around. And all Democrats need to do to secure that deal is...nothing.” (Ezra Klein, “Democrats Will Lose Now. But They Can Win Later,” The Washington Post, 7/31/11)

BUT WHAT ABOUT JOBS?

“Payrolls Climbed By 69,000 Last Month, Less Than The Most-Pessimistic Forecast In A Bloomberg News Survey.” “Payrolls climbed by 69,000 last month, less than the most- pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, after a revised 77,000 gain in April that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate called for a 150,000 May advance. The jobless rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent, while hours worked declined.” (Timothy R. Homan, “Employment In U.S. Increased 69,000 In May,” Bloomberg, 6/1/12)

Since President Obama Took Office, The Nation Has Lost 552,000 Jobs And The Unemployment Rate Has Increased From 7.8 Percent To 8.2 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/2/12)

The Unemployment Rate Has Remained Above Eight Percent For A Record 40 Straight Months. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/2/12)

23.2 Million Americans Are Unemployed, Underemployed Or Have Given Up Looking For Work. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/2/12)


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