Obama takes gamble with jobs plan

President Obama delivers a landmark jobs speech

Related Stories

US President Barack Obama has made a fiercely clever, even somewhat sly, speech.

He passionately scorned those playing at partisan politics while positioning himself in a very political way.

He stressed that his American Jobs Act was acting on proposals Republicans should like, while making a clear appeal to his own Democratic base and its values.

This was not of course a new President Obama, but it was a style of speech I have never heard him make before.

Fired up, yes, but using plain language. The call, if not the response, of a preacher.

The chorus line: "You should pass this jobs plan right away."

There was a fair amount of hefty, meaty detail and this speech was shorn of some of the soaring rhetoric of the past.

But it was still fiery and feisty.

What he is suggesting is pretty big. More than $450bn according to White House sources.

It is designed to put him in a situation where any outcome is a win.

In the unlikely event the Republicans go for this, he has the policy he wants.

If they don't, he campaigns against them, portraying them as against job creation, against the American people.

'Simple math'

Mr Obama kept on stressing that many of the ideas he proposed were from Republicans in the first place and that these plans would be paid for by deeper cuts elsewhere.

But he was somewhat scornful of their values: "So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for 'job creators' this plan is for you," he said.

"I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes."

Obama believes that the majority of Americans will be on his side.

He said: "Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can't afford to do both.

"This isn't political grandstanding. This isn't class warfare. This is simple math.

"These are real choices that we have to make. And I'm pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It's not even close."

That is the gamble he is taking.

If he's wrong, if the majority of Americans think more stimulus money is a waste, that government spending and red tape are the real problem, then a smart speech and a well thought out strategy won't save him.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

Is EU challenge too much for Cameron to stomach?

Mark Mardell on the complex balancing act facing the prime minister as he negotiates the UK's future place in the EU.

Read full article

More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    190. McJakome

    SO why bother with civilization at all when we could have a no-holds-barred capitalism?

    Who said anything about "no-holds-barred" capitalism? Less govt doesn't mean no govt. Ditto for regulation. There's a line that balances needs of people and businesses.

    Has to work for both whether you want to accept it or not; otherwise, don't expect cos. to remain in US.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    188. AndreaNY RE 187. peterbo:
    “Anybody who believes we can ‘force’ or ‘punish’ large corporations into actions not in their interests is seriously deluded.”

    And this is true of the Mafia, drug gangs and other pure expressions of unfettered capitalism. SO why bother with civilization at all when we could have a no-holds-barred capitalism?

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Barack's $500 billion dollar jobs package is crooked and bogus. The money will be paid to his political patrons who established employment projects and other vocational rehabilitation programmes. The DNC receives cash graft kicked-back on this kind of chicane, deceptive bill for Congress.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    187. peterbo:

    A lot of talk about Obama's "ruining" our country. My biggest disappointment is how he has tarred individual initiative and private industry. Anybody who believes we can "force" or "punish" large corporations into actions not in their interests is seriously deluded. Compromise, coax, negotiate, yes, but force? No, and shame on him for not knowing this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    #186 AndreaNY

    Fourteen months is a long time in politics, but there's no sign BHO will change the course of destroying US private sector and economy. I'd say that's on purpose, as it does not require exceptional intelligence to quit policies that have not worked for so long. He's doomed, majority of independents will not vote for him. Do not let your NY uber-liberal environment discourage you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    181. peterbo: "... because BHO will lose by landslide, and is thus irrelevant. "

    I doubt it. Too many dems would rather die than vote for a republican and too many other dems would rather die than hand them a win. And we're about to get the best of Obama the candidate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    161 Interested Foreigner

    Thanks for the tip - evidently you are right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    181. peterbo: The Repub debate provided plenty of policies ideas, ...Corporate tax cuts, rolling back of regs (Obamacare, DoddFrank, EPA, etc).

    **A challenge when so many people believe all our problems stem from deregulation, big biz, etc. Dems have been pushing hard the idea that it was repubs' policies alone to blame. Now makes it hard to do the things that need to be done to spur growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    182. McJakome

    “Why don't you explain to us how these government jobs are going to make us more competitive globally.”

    No, why don’t you explain how millions of unemployed Americans are good for the American economy [except for maximizing corporate profits by outsourcing their jobs].

    Two different questions. Obama's actions put money into Americans' hands. Helps but not globally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.


    “Why don't you explain to us how these government jobs are going to make us more competitive globally.”

    No, why don’t you explain how millions of unemployed Americans are good for the American economy [except for maximizing corporate profits by outsourcing their jobs]. The private sector is not hiring enough people due to economic fears right now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    #161 IF

    The Repub debate provided plenty of policies ideas, and was more interesting than BHO's speech, because BHO will lose by landslide, and is thus irrelevant. Corporate tax cuts, rolling back of regs (Obamacare, DoddFrank, EPA, etc). I'd also recommend higher interest rates (Volcker-style, to get rid of the too-big-to-fail). BHO's clueless on the clue to success: American entrepreneurism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    177. yoss: Would you also insist that US businesses not go where the growing markets are -- ex., China and India? Whom do you think they'll sell their products to?

    It's called "competition" for a reason. If you're not competing, it just might just as well be called getting "whooped."

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    161. Interestedforeigner "If you get Andrea to say what she actualy believes in, or to say what legislation she actually proposes to get America out of this mess, everyone else here will die of shock."
    The bar is pretty high there. Even Obama doesn't have the answer or any other leader. Yet, you insist on one from me. Why not insist on one from them? Easier to blame republicans?

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Maybe the ONLY way of getting employment back to the US is a law that says if a company wants access to the US market it has to employ the same % of Americans as the % of US sales to world sales for that company. Fortress America? You bet! And for those who will wail about damaging US exports, obviously more workers will gain than lose simply because the US imports more than it exports.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    The Republican voter - those that make up the 95% of Republican votes and is really voting against their own interest - hasnt figured out a basic truth. While the interest of American business and American workers converged for the most part post WW2, that is simply NOT true in the world of global capital and labor markets of today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    159. LucyJ: That's the problem with Reps. They are world class champions in criticism and blame game
    Dems do a pretty good job of beating up on big business, and yet I haven't heard anything specific about how they're going to help businesses compete. Lots of protection for unions but not a word on global labor cost pressures. Lots of new regs but not a peep about compliance costs.

  • Comment number 175.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Americans!Ask yourselves why most drugs are more expensive in the US than in any other country. The Republicans among you will come back with the tired "to incentivise" the drug companies logic.Why is all this paid for on the backs of the US taxpayers and why are benefits available to the world at a fraction of the cost to Americans? Simple.Your own representatives are betraying your interest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    The only way that health care costs can start to be controlled is the single payer system. The working example is Canada and I am Canadian. I know. The GOP created hysteria - they flat out lied about specific examples and created this fear to please their paymasters in the Insurance companies and the HMOs. The American people are poorer as a result and have been screwed once again by their own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    President Obama's big mistake has been believing that Americans-regardless of what they tell pollsters-believe in bipartisanship at the moment. He should have rammed his policies and promises through and let the ballot box decide in 2012.This attempt at bipartisanship wasted time and certainly didn't help him politically.The tea party in its nutty beliefs will be the cause of the death of the USA.


Page 1 of 10



  • Man with typewriterLove to Patrick

    The official whose over-familiar letters infuriated his boss

  • Man's hands putting ring on woman's fingerName changer

    Why do wives take a man's name after marriage?

  • Person scratching their arm10 things

    Scratching really does make things itch, and other nuggets

  • Corsican flagCorsican mafia

    Are Corsica's days of mafia and militants over?

  • Mobil canopies on the A6 at Red Hill, LeicestershireEnglish heritage

    Zebra crossings to bus stations: unusual listed buildings

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.