Monday, May 19, 2014

The President Discovers Jobs

This week the President discussed bringing jobs back to America:

Five years into his presidency, Obama finally decides that jobs for Americans actually are important.

Citizens who have paid any attention at all to the Obama presidency remember that despite the economic crisis left him by George Bush which contributed more than anything else to his election, the President's first priority was enacting the PPACA. Progressive pundits later celebrated that this would allow people to quit their current employment so they could pursue their dreams.

He opens his address noting that many businesses plan to return jobs to America from overseas. He wants to encourage it. That's a good thing.

At a time when our businesses have created 9.2 million new jobs in just over four years, and more companies are considering bringing jobs back from overseas, we have a choice to make.  We can make it easier for businesses to invest in America – or we can make it harder. 

And of course, no Presidential address would be complete without the threat of unilateral action--in this "Year of Action."

He cites three things he is doing.

First, the President  is helping to bring jobs to America through foreign investment. He cites companies from Canada and Belgium that plan to invest in America and create new jobs.. He does not exactly explain what he is doing. He alludes to SelectUSA, a program affiliated with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its website provides information on--what else---financial incentives the federal government offers foreign capital. Based upon the record of the first years of the Obama administration, it will not doub be very selective about what kinds of businesses it will encourage.

Second, the President plans to promote tourism, another source of foreign spending. In 2012, foreign travelers spent over $128 billion in the United States.  This amounts to a trade surplus for the United States, because Americans spent only $84 billion overseas.  This creates both jobs and adds tax revenue. Not sure what the President can do. The rest of world knows we're here. Travel to the United States probably depends more upon the financial circumstances of foreign countries rather than on promotional materials generated by the United States government.

Finally, he calls for investment in our transportation infrastructure. According to the President, "We know that investing in first-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs." Do we know this? What does this mean? Infrastructure will create jobs not only for engineers, but also for men with shovels--those infamous "shovel ready" jobs touted by the President a few years back. Some are first class; others not so much.  In addition, he claims that "We know business owners don’t seek out crumbling roads and bridges and backed-up supply chains." That is true but irrelevant. State and local taxes and regulations play a much larger role than potholes in the calculations of most businessmen. 

Our transportation infrastructure needs attention. And Republicans should "adopt a highway." After all, it is part of the Republican heritage. In the 19th century Republicans provided political support for tying the nation together through a national network of railways. In the 20th century Republicans provided the same support of the national highway system. The President will pay for it by "closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas." If such tax loopholes exist, why have they not been closed during the first five years of the Obama presidency simply in the name of justice . . . and jobs?

He wraps up his message with one more snipe at the Republican Congress: they cut taxes (yeah, those same taxes that drive some businesses overseas.)

The President's final point is one around which all Americans can unite: "Thanks, and have a great weekend."

1 comment:

CW said...

I appreciate the summary, V.L., since I can't stomach listening to Obama, what with all his snake oil and lying and scolding. I guess Obama had to wait this long into his presidency to re-visit the job problem so that people would have time to forget the trillion dollars he spent that didn't give us anything we couldn't have otherwise gotten. I find it amazing that anyone takes this man seriously. I think he's a joke. A BAD joke.