President Obama, please listen to Robert Reich
Which gets me to the President. Even though the President’s two former top economic advisors (Larry Summers and Christy Roemer) have called for a major fiscal boost to the economy, the President has remained mum. Why?
I’m told White House political operatives are against a bold jobs plan. They believe the only jobs plan that could get through Congress would be so watered down as to have almost no impact by Election Day. They also worry the public wouldn’t understand how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction. And they fear Republicans would use any such initiative to further bash Obama as a big spender.
So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it’s politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama – to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington’s paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it. They hope all this will distract the public’s attention from the President’s failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia.
This is evident given David Plouffe's remarks in an interview given earlier this month:
Mr. PLOUFFE: No, he didn't. First of all, the president believes, and I think most people in the country do, that we've got to start living within our means and significantly reduce the deficit. So this deal does a few things. It removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy. As you know, many Republicans wanted us to re-fight this fight five or six months from now, which would be a bad thing for our economy and our country. It does lock in, as you said, a trillion dollars, roughly, in deficit reduction with more to come.
Mr. PLOUFFE: Well, first thing. The first thing the president thinks about in the morning, obviously, and last when he goes to bed, is this economy. Smart deficit reduction, living within our means, giving confidence to the country and to the business community is part of that. But it's just part of it. So you have to do this carefully. The spending cuts here are phased in over time. And, you know, you see Republicans criticizing that. They wanted the spending cuts to happen much more quickly here. That's not responsible.
More people need to read the rest of Robert Reich's article. He's right on this, and the WH's failure in pursuing a bold jobs program is going to end up handicapping the President for his re-election. The President may see this as a "political" game that he doesn't like in using the bully pulpit, but it's the right and the moral thing to do in drawing a contrast against the eventual Republican nominee in showing Americans where he stands. His political advisors are underestimating the intelligence of the American populace about the present state of the economy and the unemployment rate.
They're just not going to bother showing the American people they care about jobs creation by trying to push a bold jobs program through Congress, and they're more scared of what the eventual Republican nominee will say about that effort. So what?
Tell the American people that the Republican nominee is blocking jobs, and doesn't care about creating millions of jobs for Americans. That's what YOU do when you face Republican opposition to a bold jobs program in Congress. The failure of the WH to think big, dream big, and go big is going to hamper them in 2012, and we will all be worse off as a result.