President Barack Obama spent yesterday day in Ohio slamming Republicans for not backing his latest gimmick stimulus “jobs” proposal. As his backdrop, the White House used a bridge that connects Ohio (House Speaker John Boehner’s state) to Kentucky (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s state) that isn’t large enough to handle traffic demand as an example of a project that his proposal would tackle. Well, there’s a problem…that bridge isn’t “shovel ready”:
[Obama] headed out to one today which he’s described as a “bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.” It is on a busy trucking route, spanning the Ohio River between Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati.
It’s the Brent Spence Bridge. It doesn’t really need repairs. It’s got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It’s just overloaded. The bridge was built to handle 85,000 cars and trucks a day, which seemed like a lot back during construction in the Nixon era.
Today, the bridge sort of handles more than 150,000 vehicles a day with frequent jam-ups.
So, plans are not to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge. But to build another bridge nearby to ease the loads.
But here’s the problem, as John Merline graphically notes here, that could screw up all those envisioned photo op shots of the Democrat and the traffic:
The president’s jobs bill is designed for “immediate” highway spending.
And the new $2.3 billion Cincy bridge is not scheduled to even start construction for probably four years, long after Republicans have scheduled the Obama presidency for completion.
And without delays, it wouldn’t be finished until 2022, when no one will be counting Obama’s rounds of golf.
Politicians hate these kinds of messy distractions when they pick a place to make a symbolic statement. But Brent Spence was so tempting linking, as it does, the home states of GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It’s a politically convenient route for Obama to take, as dishonest as it is; however, if he wants to complain about his so-called “jobs” bill, he should be talking to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is stalling it in his chamber:
A few Democrats have balked at the tax increases in Mr. Obama’s plan as well. And while the president has made “Pass this bill” a mantra, the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, has declined to schedule action on the jobs plan ahead of other pending legislation.
With that aside, Obama trips was an opportunity for yet another campaign speech to push failed economic policies — after all, that’s all he has, as Steve Chapman explains:
[T]he real joke is thinking that the way to get companies excited about hiring is making them walk through a minefield to do it. Or that employers who shy away from the unemployed are irrational or evil. Or that the policy of a few companies has much to do with the plight of the jobless.
The White House argues, “The exclusion of unemployed applicants is a troubling and arbitrary screen that is bad for the economy, bad for the unemployed, and ultimately bad for firms trying to find the best candidates.”
Trust Obama and his aides to think they know better than employers how to find the best employees. If the policy is self-destructive, firms that practice it will pay a price for their stupidity: the loss of good workers.
That competitive disadvantage may eventually drive them out of business. The relentless pressures of the market are a powerful force in favor of rational hiring policies.
The forbidden policy appears to be the employment equivalent of a two-headed cow—not mythical, but a long way from being common. The National Employment Law Project trumpets that over four weeks, it found 150 ads excluding the unemployed on major job sites, such as Monster.com and Career Builder. It’s a puny number, when you consider that Career Builder alone claims to list a million jobs.
The few companies that rely on this method may have good reason to steer clear of those with big gaps in their work history. In a fast-changing industry, last year’s knowledge may be as useful as skill with an abacus.
Obama, who is receiving long overdue blame for the economy, is grasping at straws as Democrats are distancing themselves from him and former President Bill Clinton knocked his tax hike proposals. All he can do is give campaign speeches because no one trusts him on the economy anymore, not that they should have in the first place.