Obama jobs speech, September 8, 2011, Joint session of Congress, More shovel ready jobs?, More Obama promises, More Obama spending

Obama jobs speech, September 8, 2011, Joint session of Congress, More shovel ready jobs?, More Obama promises, More Obama spending

***  UPDATE BELOW  ***

From the Chicago Tribune September 8, 2011.

“President Barack Obama will lay out a jobs
package worth more than $300 billon on Thursday, staking his
re-election hopes on a call for urgent bipartisan action to revive the
faltering economy.

With his poll numbers sliding to new lows amid voter frustration with
9.1 percent unemployment, Obama will make tax cuts for middle-class
households and businesses the centerpiece of the plan and will press
for new spending to repair roads, bridges and other deteriorating

He will use his televised speech before a joint session of the U.S.
Congress, at 7 p.m. EDT, to urge passage of those measures by

If congressional Republicans reject his remedies, his strategy will be
to paint them as obstructionists and blame them for the stagnating

Stubbornly high unemployment has heightened fears that the economy
could be headed for another recession. Net employment growth
registered zero in August as a budget standoff in Washington and the
European debt crisis spooked businesses and consumers.

Obama is under intense pressure to change perceptions that he has
shown weak leadership. His economic stewardship has been criticized by
both Republicans and fellow Democrats, casting a cloud over his
prospects for re-election in November 2012.”

“Republicans have derided an $800 billion economic stimulus package
that Obama pushed through Congress in 2009 as wasteful spending and
have pushed for immediate cuts in the deficit.

Democrats say that while long-term deficits must be addressed, the
economy needs a short-term fiscal boost.

Media reports have put the size of Obama’s jobs package at upward of
$300 billion. CNN quoted sources saying it could top $400 billion. The
White House would not confirm the reports.”

“Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said Obama should take
responsibility for making the economy worse.

“Unemployment is worse, housing is worse, the debt is worse, and he’s
done all that by throwing a big wet blanket over the economy with his
regulatory, tax and healthcare policies,” he said.”

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What Obama stated on March 3, 2009.
    “Two weeks ago, I signed into law the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, the most sweeping economic recovery plan in history.
 And already, its impact is being felt across this nation.
Hardworking families can now worry a little less about next month’s
bills because of the tax cut they’ll soon find in the mail.  Renewable
energy companies that were once downsizing are now finding ways to
expand.  And transportation projects that were once on hold are now
starting up again — as part of the largest new investment in
America’s infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the
Interstate Highway System.

    Of the 3.5 million jobs that will be created and saved over the
next two years as a result of this recovery plan, 400,000 will be jobs
rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools, repairing our
faulty levees and dams, connecting nearly every American to broadband,
and upgrading the buses and trains that commuters take every day.
Many of these projects will be coordinated by Secretary LaHood and all
of you at the Department of Transportation.  And I want you to know
that the American public is grateful to public servants like you —
men and women whose work isn’t always recognized, but whose jobs are
critical to our nation’s safety, security, and prosperity.  You have
never been more important than you are right now, and for that we are
all grateful.  (Applause.)

    Now, in the coming days and weeks, my administration will be
announcing more details about the kinds of transportation projects
that will be launched as part of the recovery plan.  But today, I want
to speak about an investment we are making in one part of our
infrastructure.  Through the Recovery Act, we will be investing $28
billion in our highways, money that every one of our 50 states can
start using immediately to put people back to work.  It’s an
investment being made at an unprecedented pace, thanks in large part
to Joe Biden, who’s leading the effort to get the money out the door
quickly.  Because of Joe, and because of all the governors and mayors,
county and city officials who are helping implement this plan, I can
say that 14 days after I signed our Recovery Act into law, we are
seeing shovels hit the ground.”

“Now, we have another responsibility.  Having inherited a
trillion-dollar deficit that we’re working to cut in half, we also
need to ensure that tax dollars aren’t wasted on projects that don’t
deliver results.  And that’s why, as part of his duty, Joe will keep
an eye on how precious tax dollars are being spent.  To you, he’s Mr.
Vice President, but around the White House, we call him the Sheriff —
(laughter) — because if you’re misusing taxpayer money, you’ll have
to answer to him.”

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From The Blaze October 13, 2010.

“Obama: ‘No Such Thing’ as a Shovel-Ready Job”
“The president has offered a number of his own “serious proposals,” not
the least of which was the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
The underwhelming fallout from the $787 billion investment is one of
many reasons the American public is challenging the Democratic
leadership this year.

In reflecting on his time in office, the president laments that he
looks too much like “the same old tax-and-spend Democrat,“ and
realized that ”there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

But the promise of these “shovel-ready” jobs was one of the Democrats’
main selling points in lobbying for the stimulus plan. In December
2008, the then-President-elect Obama pledged, “We’ve got shovel-ready
projects all across the country that governors and mayors are pleading
to fund.  And the minute we can get those investments to the state
level, jobs are going to be created.”  Just one day later, the
president-elect presented his ideas for a “bold agenda” of
“shovel-ready projects,” promising the creation of 2.5 million new
jobs when he took office.”
In March 2009, President Obama boasted that just “14 days after I
signed our Recovery Act into law we are seeing shovels hit the

“At the same time, Vice President Joe Biden, the White House’s de facto
stimulus shepherd, said the stimulus act “provides a necessary jolt to
our economy to implement what we refer [to] as ‘shovel-ready’
projects, meaning projects that were on the books that were needed in
the municipalities and the states that would improve the quality of
life for our constituents, the competitiveness of our businesses, but
were unable to be funded.”

Months later when the economy hadn’t begun to turn around, Obama
continued to promise “shovel-ready” jobs.  In August he bragged that
the stimulus helped fund “almost 100 shovel-ready transportation
projects… which are beginning to create jobs.”

A year later, Biden continues to parrot the White House’s claims that
“shovel-ready” projects were putting Americans to work, despite
stagnate unemployment levels.  “Last summer… we had 1,750 highway
projects that were underway — ‘shovel-ready,’” he said this summer.”

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*** Update from the Guardian September 9, 2011 7:45 AM ***

“President Obama’s jobs speech to Congress – as it happened”

“9.10pm: Here’s a summary of tonight’s speech on jobs by Obama:

• Barack Obama unveiled his American Jobs Act, designed to boost employment and costing $447bn. Obama repeatedly urged Congress to “pass this jobs plan right away”

• The bulk of the plan is for $245bn in reduced payroll taxes, designed to make it cheaper for business to hire new staff, as well as spending on building infrastructure and education, including funds to retain teachers and retraining for the long-term unemployed

• Under the act, an average American family would receive a tax cut of $1,500 in 2012

• Economists said the plan, if adopted in full, could support two million new jobs and cut the unemployment rate from 9% down towards 8%

• But the plan contained little to address the crushing burden of America’s housing market, and for that reason was rejected as “inadequate” by some economists

• Republican leaders gave a tepid but civil welcome to Obama’s speech, without offering specific support, although more conservative Republicans remained staunchly opposed to any new spending

• The new spending and lower revenue would have to be offset by further cuts to the federal budget under the recent debt ceiling deal, to be identified by the congressional “super committee”, with Obama pledging to submit a revised set of budget changes”

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