Supposedly, Obama’s been advocating his $450 million jobs plan “for months.” But based on last night’s speech, it sounds like the entire concept was copy-and-pasted together at the last minute from his 2009 stimulus and a couple of his August speeches.
Adding to this haphazard quality is the fact we have to “tune in next week” to see his big plan to pay for all of it. That seems like a sure sign he doesn’t have one yet. According to the AP, this so-called “debt-reduction plan” may actually just be a set of proposals he’ll pawn off on the super committee. After all, as the president suggested last night, what’s another $450 billion on top of the $1.4 trillion they’re already trying to cut out of the budget?
The AP calls Obama out on his buck-passing:
Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near-term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future — the “out years,” in legislative jargon — but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.
If this is at the discretion of the super committee, how will these cuts be enforced? Right now, a trigger mechanism kicks in if the committee can’t come up with at least $1.2 trillion in reductions. Is that ceiling going to be raised to deal with the extra $450 billion? And if the committee can’t agree on enough reductions, will the $450 billion be added to the trigger, which will slash defense spending and Medicare?
Obama was sparse on details. And the AP is skeptical these cuts will ever actually happen:
Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today’s Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.
As Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions said before the speech yesterday, Obama’s plan could be in “total jeopardy” if he can’t figure out a way to pay for it immediately. If the president is serious about moving his plan forward, he’ll need to come up with the money, and fast.