Commentary Magazine


Obama and the “Focus on Jobs”

Yesterday the president began his newly aggressive push on “jobs” by saying everybody is on board with his program but Congress. It’s either wishful thinking—given that 59 percent of adults now say they disapprove of his handling of the economy, according to the new Wall Street Journal-NBC poll—or simply an effort to create the “do-nothing Congress” narrative Obama needs to use to get himself reelected in 2012. But it’s more striking to note how Obama now claims to be turning his focus toward jobs after a summer dedicated to the debt crisis.

The truth is, that for good or ill, the entirety of the Obama administration has been dedicated to jobs. He came into office vowing to create 3 million of them. The jobs problem was the justification for the $863 billion stimulus bill. “Jobs” was the primary reason given for the auto-company bailouts in 2009, structured as it was to benefit the United Automobile Workers. Even Obamacare was sold in part as a jobs creator, with then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declaring it would “almost immediately” create 400,000 jobs on its way to millions more.

There is no “pivot to jobs.” The Obama administration is and has ever been about “creating jobs.” It’s just disastrously bad at it and about understanding how to promote job creation, that’s all, and there’s every reason to believe Obama and his people remain committed to the same terrible ideas.

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