On Thursday, President Obama gave a speech at a Johnson Controls plant in Holland, Michigan. You can find the full text of the speech here, but, let me summarize.
As the economy was improving and improving through 2009, 2010, the beginning of this year, suddenly it was hit with the unrest in the Middle East that helped send gas prices through the roof. Europe is dealing with all sorts of financial turmoil that is lapping up on our shores. Japan’s tragic earthquake hurt economies around the globe, including ours, cut off some supply chains that were very important to us.
[u]nfortunately, what we’ve seen in Washington the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock –- and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy…it happened because Washington doesn’t have the capacity to come together and get things done. It was a self-inflicted wound.
I can only assume that the President isn’t speaking about himself when he blasts Washington gridlock.
As to the Presiden’t plan, he simply repeats what he has told us for months. We need to continue the payroll tax cut that has been in place for the past two years during which unemployment has increased. We need to build more roads and bridges, and green energy (aka, Stimulus part II), when, under Stimulus part I, unemployment increased. We need to streamline the patent process…how will that do anything meaningful to increase employment? And, we need to pass the free trade agreements pending in Congress.
On the last point, I wholeheartedly agree with the President. However, what the President neglected to mention is that he will not submit implementing legislation for the free trade agreements unless Congress agress to pass a $2 billion per year “union slush fund”, something that Congress is unlikely to do.
Beyond that, here is what the President said about his plan.
And I’ll be laying out more proposals in the days ahead.
[a]nd over the coming weeks, I’m going to be putting out more proposals, week by week, that will help businesses hire and put people back to work.
On Friday, the President attended a hastily called (i.e., the CEO’s were given 2 days notice) meeting with CEO’s of 10 large corporations to seek their ideas, which sounds promising on the surface. However, last year the administration held a meeting with CEO’s from the Business Roundtable to seek their ideas on growing the economy. The CEO’s provided a 54 page list of items.
To the best of my knowledge, that list is languishing in a file cabinet somewhere…or worse.