Obama now blames poor job numbers on congressional inaction. Wait! His party runs Congress
Just a few minor things to catch up on for the weekend now that the Fundraiser-in-Chief has gone on another vacation (Don't worry though. White House chef Sam Kass went along, so the first family need not eat ordinary human food.)
-- The Congressional Budget Office says the 2010 federal deficit will be in excess of $1.3 trillion, as in $1,000,000,000,000+. (BTW, the next level we'll be talking about out of Washington is quadrillion, which has fifteen 0's.)
-- Despite Vice President Joe Biden's April boast that administration stimulus spending would spur the economy to add a half-million jobs a month by now, initial unemployment claims jumped a half-million last week, the worst since last November, as national unemployment remains at 9.5% and the economy sheds 131,000 more jobs.
-- But the economy's going great at the Democratic National Committee, which reports collecting $11.5 million from donors in July on top of the $53.8 million already taken in from various sources this year. The president just devoted three workdays across five states to rake in several more millions for his party.
-- But before leaving for his ninth presidential vacation, 10 days at a....
...secluded estate on Martha's Vineyard, Obama devoted four minutes in the White House driveway to a special statement on the latest disappointing jobs numbers. (Full text, as usual, can be read on the jump, along with a brief reaction from the Republican National Committee chairman.)
No questions allowed because the president didn't want to explain why despite the administration's announced Recovery Summer Program, the jobs numbers have started going backward again after 19 months of promises and $787 billion in alleged stimulation spending. Because, faced with the uncertainty of the economy and the certainty of new taxes after Nov. 2, employers are holding back on hiring.
According to the president, he's been "adamant" with Congress for months now about a new jobs bill to help small businesses. Obama says this really good bill is stalled in the Senate, where so much administration legislation has been crammed through so effectively by Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Reid's been so good at it, in fact, that he's now running for his political life in a reelection campaign back in Nevada where unemployment is 14.3% and Obama's legislation is not so popular.
Reid's up against a conservative Republican. So, that means Harry Reid must be a Democrat, just like Obama, and just like 59% of the Senate's votes.
The very same party that has controlled both houses of Congress since the 2006 election and really controlled them both since the 2008 hopey-changey balloting.
So, facing the growing grim possibility of a GOP surge on Nov. 2, is this maybe the start of buddy-bickering within the Democratic huddle? Vulnerable people pointing the proverbial political finger of blame at someone else? That's ridiculous, of course.
-- One more thing: Arianna Huffington has word-processed another one of her thoughtful essays over at Huffington Post. This one sounds kind of critical of the president himself. The headline: "Memo to America's Middle Class: Obama Is Just Not That Into You."
-- Andrew Malcolm
Remarks by President Obama on the economy, as provided by the White House
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. For the last several months, I have been urging Congress to pass a jobs bill that will do two big things for small businesses -- cut their taxes and make loans more available.
I have been adamant about this because small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create two out of every three new jobs in this country. And while a lot of big businesses and big banks have started recovering from this recession, small businesses and community banks that loan to small businesses have been lagging behind. They need help. And if we want this economy to create more jobs more quickly, we need to help them.
A report yesterday from the Labor Department underscores why this is so critical. In the final few months of last year, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees accounted for more than 60% of the job losses in America -- more than 60%. These are the businesses that usually create most of the jobs in this country. And this report, combined with this morning’s news that unemployment claims rose again, compels us to act. It compels us to stand with the small businessmen and women who are trying to grow their companies and make payroll and hire new workers.
The jobs bill that is stalled in Congress would completely eliminate taxes on key investments in small businesses. It would allow small business owners to write off more expenses. And it would make it easier for community banks to do more lending to small businesses, while allowing small firms to take out larger SBA loans with fewer fees, which countless entrepreneurs have told me would make a big difference in their companies. I’d also like to point out this legislation is fully paid for and will not add one single dime to our deficit.
So this is a bill that makes sense, and normally we would expect Democrats and Republicans to join together. Unfortunately, a partisan minority in the Senate so far has refused to allow this jobs bill to come up for a vote.
Now, I recognize that there are times when Democrats and Republicans have legitimate differences rooted in different views about what’s best for this country. There are times when good people disagree in good faith.
But this is not one of those times. This small business jobs bill is based on ideas both Democrat and Republican. In fact, many provisions in the bill were actually authored by Republican senators. It has been praised as being good for small business by groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
A majority of senators are in favor of the bill and yet the obstruction continues. It’s obstruction that stands in the way of small business owners getting the loans and the tax cuts that they need to prosper. It’s obstruction that defies common sense.
So let me just make this simple point. There will be plenty of time between now and November to play politics. But the small business owners I met with this week, the ones that I’ve met with across the country this year, they don’t have time for political games. They’re not interested in what’s best for a political party. They’re interested in what’s best for the country.
When Congress reconvenes, this jobs bill will be the first business out of the gate. And the Senate Republican leadership needs to stop its efforts to block it. Let’s put aside the partisanship for awhile and work together for small businesses, for employees, and the communities that depend on them across this great country. Thank you very much. ####
Jobs statement by Chairman Michael Steele, as provided by the Republican National Committee
This month’s jump in jobless claims may have surprised some economists, but it’s no surprise to the American families who are struggling to adjust to the Obama economy. With unemployment claims hitting a nine-month high and a struggling housing market, middle-class Americans are losing faith in the Democrat leaders at the helm of our country.
The administration’s "Recovery Summer" has been an epic failure and it is way past time for the White House to be straight with the American people and admit that an $862-billion stimulus did not do what was promised. It is clear that the Democrats’ strategy of reckless spending, ballooning deficits and higher taxes are not the answer and that we need to pursue Republican pro-growth solutions to get our economy back on track. ####
Photo credit: Chuck Kennedy / White House; Getty Images (Reid); Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images (Democratic House leadership celebrates another victory).