Economy Alarm: Hard Pivot to Nowhere: Dems’ “Jobs Agenda” at a Standstill

April 13, 2010

Hard Pivot to Nowhere: Dems’ “Jobs Agenda” at a Standstill

Lacking the Votes, Out of Money and Out of Ideas Dems Fail to Meet Goals


Democrats Claim the Stimulus ‘Saved or Created’ Up to 2 Million Jobs Last Year and Promise to Reach 3.5 Million Jobs By the End of 2010


“The Obama administration, offering evidence that its much-maligned efforts to spur economic recovery have begun to take hold, said Tuesday that the $787-billion stimulus program saved or created 1.5 million to 2 million jobs last year… [Chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer] expressed confidence that the package of tax cuts and government spending — the largest of its kind in U.S. history — ultimately would fulfill President Obama’s promise of boosting employment by 3.5 million jobs by the end of this year.”  (Don Lee and Jim Tankersley, “White House credits stimulus,” Los Angeles Times, 1/13/2010)

“The almost year-old stimulus bill’s progress is ‘on track,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asserted Wednesday… ‘When we passed the Recovery Act nearly one year ago, we pledged to create and save 3.5 million jobs over two years,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘This analysis shows that we are on track so far – with only half the money committed.’… Pelosi said further spending out of the stimulus act would mean more of an economic boost to the U.S.” (Michael O’Brien: “Stimulus Bill’s Progress ‘On Track,’” The Hill, 1/12/2010)

Credibility Crash: Democrats’ Jobs Agenda at a Standstill


The election-year jobs agenda promised by President Barack Obama and Democrats has stalled seven months before voters determine control of Congress.


Democrats have no money to pay for the program. That’s because both Republicans and the Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee objected to taking money left over from the fund that bailed out banks, automakers and insurers and using it for the jobs bill.


Such a move, they insisted, would add tens of billions of dollars to the $12.8 trillion national debt.


An $80 billion-plus Senate plan promised an infusion of cash to build roads and schools, help local governments keep teachers on the payroll, and provide rebates for homeowners who make energy-saving investments. Two months after the plan was introduced, most of those main elements remain on the Senate’s shelf.


Obama’s proposed $250 bonus payment to Social Security recipients is dead for the year, having lost a Senate vote last month.


What’s going ahead instead are small-bore initiatives. That includes modest help for small business or simple extensions of parts from last year’s economic stimulus measure. None is expected to make an appreciable dent in an unemployment rate, stubbornly stuck at 9.7 percent, which is more that double what it was three years ago.



The idea of a jobs agenda arose late last year when the unemployment rate hit 10 percent and Democrats voiced concern that the majority party wasn’t doing enough to spur job creation. In December, House Democrats passed a $174 billion measure focused on public works spending, aid to the jobless and help to struggling state and local governments.



Since then, the measure has languished. The election of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., robbed Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-vote coalition. Concerns about the rising national debt also sapped momentum.



That larger measure, to be financed mostly by adding almost $100 billion to the debt, is the biggest piece of the jobs agenda with a good chance to pass into law. But it doesn’t contain any new ideas for jump-starting the economy. It just extends elements of Obama’s $862 billion economic stimulus package, which is earning uneven reviews with voters. (Andrew Taylor, “Obama election-year jobs agenda stalls in Congress,” Associated Press, 4/11/2010)


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