Obama's Job Speech

Friday, September 09, 2011

Anna Sale, political reporter for It's A Free Country, talks about the response to President Obama's job speech last night and what it will mean for the 2012 elections, and WNYC business and economics editor Charlie Herman discusses the economics of the proposal and how the business world might respond.


Charlie Herman and Anna Sale

Comments [39]

RJ from prospect hts

Excuse my typo: I meant *25* million of Us are unemployed.

Sep. 09 2011 02:50 PM
RJ from prospect hts

I find it more than a little perplexing that people write off the New Deal jobs programs as "just* a government handout that provided *only* temporary jobs. If I had been a farmer or a small business owner or a house painter or living in a Hooverville or the mother of 4 children in 1929, I would have been overjoyed to have "just" a temporary job with which I built roads and art and bridges and public water access and national parks, as well as been trained in solid skills I could (and did, along with another government program, the GI bill, which also helped house GIs) use after WWII.

I would have been really really grateful to have something to do rather than starve. Even a *temporary* job. Then I could *temporarily* feed myself and my children. I could buy them some warm clothes that would last longer than *temporarily.* I could *temporarily* pay for a roof over our heads. I could go to a medical or dental clinic for care that would help keep me and my family healthy longer than *temporarily.*

Let's, for once, stop arguing over the numbers and the personalities and the next election and be real and see the true impact of the mess we're in. We feel it less here on the east coast, but the actual 16% of Americans who are unemployed (including the "discouraged" workers who have stopped looking after not finding a job for years)--about **45 million of Us**--are hurting--badly, badly, badly ****Hurting****--Right Now. They can't find jobs. They're tossed out of their homes. Their mediocre unemployment payments end (oh, and there was no unemployment back in the early 30s). Food stamps cover almost nothing. We need clothes.

Obama has done many, many things I do not like, but he did save the auto industry--and the families and communities (parts companies, groceries, clothing stores, etc.), which is now growing (and has *paid back its loans*). His inadequate stimulus (and I don't just mean inadequately funded) did create jobs--and kept at least some people from continuing to hurt--even if *temporarily.* This has true, real meaning in people's lives.

Give people temporary jobs while we find a long-term way to dig out of this godawful mess. Don't leave them in the sleep-depriving, enraging, domestic violence-and substance abuse-inducing hell that their inability to find work has put them in.

Sep. 09 2011 02:05 PM
gary from queens

@Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

It would help if you understood history. Hoover was a big government spender like Bush. the liberal republican congressmembers went along with Hoover's stmulus spending, that made it worse. FDR doubled down on that spending, pushing the economy into a 20 yr depression. READ MY ARTICLE!

Obama is like FDR. He's resuming spending at a greater extent that Bush had. and we are clearly paying the price for that mistake.

AND where did you get those numbers?!

Sep. 09 2011 11:45 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I expect the GOP (and commenters like MartinC and gary from Q) to poo-poo any effort to bring some life back to the job market. Their goal is to paint Obama in the Hoover role and present their candidate (Romney or Rick Perry) as the FDR that can fix the ills wrought by the GOP's mismanagement. (Dubya ran the public debt up from $5T to $11T)

Only problem, Hoover had a GOP Congress to share the blame so it was clear to the electorate that the standard 'this is just a bad patch and in time the market will fix all' answer had run out of steam. Obama's has been handcuffed by the GOP Senate filibusters and TP-inspired intransigence. If balanced budgets were SO important, how come not a peep about it when Dubya spent up a bunch?

Stop pretending you care about Americans, you just care about your money.

I fear that the nation will tend even more toward fascism - Did you notice the arrests at Paul Ryan town meetings? - if we elect a Republican President.

Sep. 09 2011 10:46 AM
gary from queens


Yes, the government was the prime contractor. It did what governments do: coerce citizens to do something. in this case, something that benefited everyone.

But government didn't manufacture the guns and tanks and planes. private industry creates wealth. my point reinforced yet again.

Sep. 09 2011 10:40 AM
Oscar from Ny

Basically the reptiles stole from the poor, than it was the middle and now the rich...the greed never ends

Sep. 09 2011 10:34 AM

gary from queens
WW2 was a government program

Sep. 09 2011 10:33 AM

With out doing something about our for profit medical industry, as a country, we will never get out of our financial hole. You want to create jobs, get the burden of medical costs off of us all.

Sep. 09 2011 10:33 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Caller "Terry", Independent.......


"I just don't feel the man...he doesn't connect...superficial".

I'll say it more bluntly....phony.

Sep. 09 2011 10:33 AM
gary from queens


If Cheney having one or two meetings with oil producers is bad, then Isnt it horrible that Obama meets with AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka every other day?! Or public employee unions from Chicago every week?

Obama met with Trumka and Sharpton and other special interest groups more than he met with his generals conducting war in afghanistan and iraq

Sep. 09 2011 10:32 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

A payroll tax cut means more money in my pocket? Not really, not enough money gets left to make a difference.

Unfortunately, his speech comes across as a campaign speech to me. The Obama people voted for is the one in office, Bold speeches and then once in office more of a Republican than a Democrat.

And yes, the Republicans in the house just want the black man out!

Sep. 09 2011 10:31 AM

The REAL issue is lack of demand!

Sep. 09 2011 10:31 AM
John A.

Progressive taxation.
The top 20% of the population owns 84% of the wealth (further subdivided to just 1% owning 33%). Explains why Obama fought in January and again in July for this. Everybody commentor here probably knows this, just jotting it down into the record.

Sep. 09 2011 10:31 AM
The Truth from Becky

The repubs will still rebuff and resist any attempts at compromise...sadly to all of our detriment.

Sep. 09 2011 10:30 AM

This plan does nothing. You can't tax cut your way to prosperity otherwise Somalia and Afghanistan would be the most advanced nations.

Sep. 09 2011 10:29 AM
Judy from Manhattan

I'm part of the progressive base and he did make my heart go pitter pat. I loved his repeating the line , "PAss this bill right now". If only.

Perhaps his words will at least make sense to the majority of people listening to him.

Sep. 09 2011 10:28 AM
Edward from NJ

Companies hire people when hiring people will make them more money. I don't think that a $3000 tax break will spur hiring if there's no demand. I also don't think that a $3000 tax hike would deter hiring if there is demand. However, tax credits may effect *who* gets hired. A targeted tax credit may make a company choose a qualified, long-term unemployed person or veteran over another candidate.

Sep. 09 2011 10:26 AM
Joel from Nyack

Obama needs to get some balls and realize that there is no compromise with the republicans. He needs to go directly to the American people and has to tell it like it is. Most Republicans are only interested in one thing, defeat Obama, the nation be damned. I find it hard to believe that we as a nation are as stupid as we appear to be. His proposal is too little and maybe too late.

Sep. 09 2011 10:24 AM
Alix from NYC

The problem here is alarmingly simple. Until the concentration of wealth is addressed (i.e. a tax code overhaul), wage earners will not have enough money to spend and the economy will continue in fits and starts, mostly fits.

Sep. 09 2011 10:22 AM
sam from NYC

the problem is big companies are setting on so much money are not spending any of it and whats even worst these companies are getting away with less employees doing the work of more.... they are over working there employees and sadly no one have room to complaint...saying i am glad to have a job....they have jobs and no life!!???

Sep. 09 2011 10:22 AM
Robert from NYC

Well Gary, I'm aware of Cheney's totally cutting himself off from Haliburton when he became vp, in fact I remember the media reports at that time reporting that story. However, I think one has to be a bit naive to believe that just because he cut himself off financially and physically from an organization, I question his dedication to the support one gives to an institution/organization/corporation with which one was so attached and involved for so long as with Cheney and Haliburton. REALLY! And do you think I (emphasis on I) would believe anything he has to say about it a separation from that organization? Also he operated in secret, destroyed many of his files as vp and had numerous meetings with groups who were in the oil and oil field related companies such as Haliburton.

Sep. 09 2011 10:22 AM
Christina from Jersey

I am a little perplexed about the tax credit proposals for the long-time unemployed. Although I think it is admirable to wish to help out these people, is it not also a little discriminatory to choice employees on those merits? I know the opposite does happen (discriminating against those that are lt unemployed), but throwing a tax credit in there sort of legalizes those sorts of decisions. I don't know, I'm on the fence about this. Thoughts?

Sep. 09 2011 10:21 AM
gary from queens


Social Security was dead on arrival. It went into the red the very first year it was implemented!

Listen to Hugh Hewitt today at KRLA at 6 PM EST:

Sep. 09 2011 10:21 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Restaurant Owner Caller...bless you!
It's not in the DNA of any size government (and certainly not this business-hostile president) to make doing business easier.

They can spin "job creation" all they want.

Sep. 09 2011 10:20 AM
The Truth from Becky

A good speech and a more direct message

Sep. 09 2011 10:19 AM
John from NYC

If an athlete (the economy) becomes injured, your think in terms of long term return to health, you do not keep giving them steriod shots (stimulus) to "jump start" them."

If your family over did credit cards and crashed into bankruptsy, you would want to rebuild your financial health, not keep taking our new credit cards to "jump start" your family finances.

Sep. 09 2011 10:19 AM
Ken from Little Neck

Every single business owner I've heard has said exactly the same thing as your last caller - if the demand isn't there, no amount of tax breaks will make them hire new workers. I understand that it will be useful when business starts to pick up, and in the current environment it's probably the best he can do, but this really seems like a political move, rather than concrete action. I like the infrastructure parts of the plan, but that should have been the major push, not as an add on to a mostly tax based bill.

Sep. 09 2011 10:19 AM
Carl Batchelder

Please ask the small business owners that call in:
1. What federal regulations are stopping them from expanding?.
2. To what degree is the uncertainty of future taxes preventing them from expanding.

Sep. 09 2011 10:18 AM
A listener

Someone needs to lean on the banks and get them to make smaller loans so people can get hold of some of the foreclosures clogging the housing market.

Don't lend to speculators who will buy and hold...lend to people who will rehab these properties and get people in them.

That will spark the market for carpenters, drywallers, painters, electricians, etc.

Sep. 09 2011 10:18 AM
Fiorella from Scarsdale NY

We live in a country that is governed by greed and unfortunately, where once we stood united, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all, now everyone is out for himself. Nowhere is this more true than in the banking industry and big corporations and government. It is us against them.
What Obama proposes would be great but in order to make it happen, he would have to mete out regulations and punishments, which would turn the political world upside-down because it would reveal the incestuous relationship that exists and expose the true "axis of evil".

Sep. 09 2011 10:17 AM
Carolita from NYC

It sounded good to me. But who am I to say so? Oh, wait, an elector who voted for a man I trust for the long haul, who has no time to try to micromanage the Leader of the Free World? Yeah, I'm sure there's flaws in his plan as in any plan. But we aren't getting anywhere sitting around complaining and worrying about monagers under the bed. Perfection is the enemy of progress in that case.

Sep. 09 2011 10:16 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

That "payroll tax cut" is really a FICA cut. That means that Social Security funding is DOWN (i.e. less than expected). This is the first year that outgo exceeds income. More people are filing for SS (62 year olds who can't get a job, disability filings -- It must be true 'cause I heard it on NPR). This isn't the year to reduce funding. Next year funding will be down even more. And it's not really a "2%" reduction. It's a reduction from 6.2% to 4.2% (up to $108,000 in income). That "2%" reduces SS funding by 15% this year and ~32% next year (as the "tax cut" is extended to employers.
The Repubs have been trying to kill SS since it was created. Then a Democrat (Obama) does it for them..

Sep. 09 2011 10:16 AM
gary from queens

@Bobby G

Yes Bobby, i think you're beginning to see my point. Obama is merely shuffling resources around with his payroll deduction. Someone will get less and others get more. but no new wealth is created. That's not what government can do. read my article.

Sep. 09 2011 09:49 AM
gary from queens


Can you explain how ONE croney of Cheney's profited from Bush's policies? And dont say Halliburton! Read his book.

Cheney writes about transitioning from searching for a potential vice president to becoming a potential nominee himself. He made sure to sever his financial ties with Halliburton, where he was chairman and CEO. Although “there was no legal requirement that we do so,” he writes, “Lynne and I set up an irrevocable gift trust agreement that would donate all the after-tax profits from these unvested options to three charities: the University of Wyoming, George Washington University Hospital, and Capital Partners for Education, which provides scholarships to inner-city children in Washington, D.C. That agreement has resulted in more than $8 million being donated to charity.”

That will be news to many. As Cheney recalls: “I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, but after all the steps I had taken to guard against any possible assertion that I had an ongoing stake in the fortunes of the company, it angered me that my critics continued to make false claims about my ties to Halliburton. During the 2004 campaign, the charges were especially outrageous. Early in that campaign summer, Senator Pat Leahy conducted a conference call as a campaign surrogate in which he suggested I was being dishonest and dishonorable and was profiting from Halliburton business while I was vice president.”

Sep. 09 2011 09:45 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@Robert from NYC

OK......good point...... no argument there. (And that secrecy was then harshly criticized by the MSM, as opposed to the current "silence of the lambs".) back to Obama.

Sep. 09 2011 09:33 AM
Robert from NYC

In response to the first poster's comment on
"things being done in secrecy" -- and in NO WAY intending to defend this empty, simply rhetorical speech ("a dud" indeed) for which Obama has become famous -- I have to say this is not the only administration that operates/operated in secrecy; in fact the previous administration "ruled" for eight years in total secrecy with a vice president who operated in total secrecy for his own and his cronies' personal gain.

Sep. 09 2011 09:13 AM
Bobby G from East Village

At least Obama had some energy last night, but I'm concerned that lowering payroll taxes undercuts Social Security. It reneges on the bipartisan commitment from the early eighties to build up the Social Security Trust Fund. Social Security should be strengthened not weakened.

Sep. 09 2011 09:00 AM
gary from queens

Proposing a half trillion bucks of our money to Obama's friends in city governments, instead of 2 trillion like last year's porkulous bill, doesn't help the economy. And those which it does benefit is short-lived.

Unemployment rose after FDR's Public Works Association (PWA) was established. It lasted for a decade until WWII put people to work.

government investment chases away private investment. It takes away wealth from the private sector. And Obama is doubling down on an already failed attempt to have government spend our way out of this (unofficial) recession.

Read More:

Sep. 09 2011 08:54 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What a dud!!!! (“The Speech”… and its deliverer) Get tough, Brian, on “The American Jobs Act”.
The same old recycled stuff delivered as a campaign speech. Billions more for temporary jobs that will ultimately be paid for by government borrowing. Infrastructure, shovel-ready jobs and extending unemployment benefits??!! Sound familiar? We waited all summer for this!!?? Is this the Groundhog Day president? It even had the MSNBC morning staff (members themselves of the administration) rolling their eyes. If he needs to say that “This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare.”…then you know that it is.
What disrespect to a nation in which 73% of citizens think that we are going in the wrong direction!!
But, the media highlighted the GOP members who refused to attend…but they were correct, because…..
1) Where was the inclusion of the Senate and the House in the formulation of this re-warmed stimulus plan?
2) Where was the discussion with business and union leaders in the formulation of this secret “jobs plan”? A jobs plan made without input from the job makers??? Maybe he was afraid of the feedback from Boeing, Gibson Guitars and other companies that he has set his Justice Department upon in order to assuage his union fat cat donors.
3) Why wasn’t “The Plan” listed on the internet for transparency for all to see before delivery?
4) Why aren’t the numbers listed now on the website, with CBO oversight, to prove that “everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.”
5) Why….like the upcoming “Super Committee”, Biden’s recent meetings on the debt ceiling, ObamaCare and everything else this character does… is everything done in secret behind closed doors? Where is the outrage from the phony transparency mavens who constitute the WNYC audience?
This “Plan” is a political joke and this guy is a disaster. Start saving your spare pennies….storm clouds ahead.

Sep. 09 2011 06:22 AM

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