American Jobs Act

AP questions Obama’s stimulus claims

President Obama claimed last night that his jobs plan would be paid for.  “Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything,” he said.  In politics, it never gets more clear than that.  Of course, obviously I question it.  I question everything any politicians says.  What surprised me was that even the Associated Press is questioning it.

THE FACTS: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future – the “out years,” in legislative jargon – but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.

Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today’s Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.

Thank you AP.

For the record, this is the same problem one runs into when talking about spending cuts.  Most of those cuts are deferred to the out years to ease the pinch in the short term, and most never materialize because, as the AP points out, Congress can’t tell a future Congress what they have to spend.

Regardless of what you think of the President’s jobs plan, his claim it will be paid for is dubious at best.  As the AP piece points out, Obama must send his proposal to the Super Committee – which he does not control – and hope they accept it, then get it through Congress and then hope that these proposals are adhered to in the future.

Crazy Joe Biden strikes again

If you listen to Vice President Joe Biden, never one to hold back his thoughts (no matter how absurd they may be), unless the so-called American Jobs Act, which includes funding for more first responders and police, more violent crimes will be committed in cities and towns across America: Here’s what Biden said in a recent speech in Flint, Michigan:

Let’s look at the facts: in 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields.

The problem with this is, well, the premise of the claim just isn’t true, as Glenn Kessler noted this morning in a fact-check over at the Washington Post:

More important than the raw figures is the rate per 100,000 individuals. Murder did go up—though the rate did not double from 2009 to 2010, as Biden claimed. But rape has gone down. Biden actually asserted it had tripled.
Interestingly, Flint Police Chief [Alvern] Lock has repeatedly asserted that cuts in staffing had little effect on the crime rate.

Jobs bill still coming…once piece at a time

John Boehner wanted President Obama’s jobs bill in bite-sized chunks, versus being super-sized.  Obama wanted to ram the whole thing through in one big gulp.  Well, with the Senate effectively killing it, President Obama now vows to do just what Boehner wanted in the first place.

From CNN:

Shortly after his $447 billion jobs plan stalled Tuesday in the Senate, President Barack Obama vowed to break the broad initiative down into numerous, separate bills — potentially setting up even more showdowns between Democrats and Republicans on how to boost the economy and where to get the money to do so.

The Democrat-pushed bill failed Tuesday night to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate to proceed. A total of 50 members of the chamber supported the measure, while 49 cast ballots against it.

In a statement issued Tuesday night, Obama said that despite being an obvious defeat, “tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight.” He then outlined his intention to work with Senate Majority Harry Reid and produce several smaller bills derived from the bigger plan.

“In the coming days, members of Congress will have to take a stand on whether they believe we should put teachers, construction workers, police officers and firefighters back on the job,” Obama said in a statement released Tuesday night. “They’ll get a vote on whether they believe we should protect tax breaks for small business owners and middle-class Americans, or whether we should protect tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”

Same old ideas rejected in Obama’s jobs bill

As has been reported, President Obama’s jobs bill – you know, the one he’s been trying to rally support behind for the last month – took a significant hit in the Senate on Tuesday when that chamber voted 50-49 to block the bill.  That wasn’t even close to the 60 votes needed to override a filibuster and seems a clear sign that the bill is fated to die a horribly, fiery death.

The Hill is reporting that several centrist Democrats who were among those 49 votes have said they would have voted against the bill itself.  It seems safe to say that the 50 who voted to block debate on the bill are likely to also vote against it later.

The interesting part is how many Democrats who seem to side with the bill itself have concerns about whether the bill is really the right bill with our nation’s deficit being what it is.  Democrats.  Worried about the deficit.  Remember that for a long, long time.

Jobs are vitally important.  There really isn’t any such thing as a “jobless” recovery.  Without jobs, people will suffer for a while and the nation as a whole will suffer as a result.  However, jobs creation is something that the government simply can’t do and in reality, the President’s plan isn’t exactly designed to do.  Unfortunately, there are some problems with it.  For example, take the outline of the bill from  I’m going to address these points one by one.

Reid stalls on Obama’s so-called “jobs bill”

You know that so-called “jobs bill” that President Barack Obama is parading around the country, including in swing states, demanding that Congress pass? Yeah, it’s being held up in the Senate thanks to Obama’s buddy, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

President Obama is still pressing Congress to pass his jobs-stimulus bill immediately, but Democratic Party leaders in the Senate once again have delayed taking a vote on the legislation and instead will take up a bill to punish China over its currency valuation.

Senators late Monday passed a bill to keep the government open into the next fiscal year and then adjourned for the rest of the week, but Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said when they return they’ll take up the China measure rather than Mr. Obama’s jobs plan.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important for a jobs measure than China trade,” said Mr. Reid, who is the chief Senate sponsor of Mr. Obama’s plan, but who said taking on China is a bigger priority right now.

During a three-day swing through the West this week, he has demanded Congress act, and even had wealthy donors at one event in West Hollywood, Calif., chanting “Pass the bill! Pass the bill!”

“Pass the jobs bill. I need your help to tell Congress to pass this jobs bill right now,” Mr. Obama said.

Interestingly, Democrats are pushing something that Mitt Romney has made a part of his economic plan. The issue may win some support from populists, but they’re playing a dangerous game, but that’s a post for another day.

Oh look, Obama gave another speech on the economy…

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:

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