Donald Lambro

Take Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's exaggerated statement that DOT's spending program was "the only thing propping up the transportation construction industry." Not true, the AP study showed.

"A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Obama's first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an 'urgent need to accelerate job growth,'" the study said.

But the American people do not need any economic studies to tell them what they know firsthand in their states and communities -- that Obama's government-spending stimulus isn't making a dent in the unemployment figures.

Despite the anemic 2 percent economic-growth numbers in the third quarter, this is a weak economy that is still hemorrhaging jobs, nearly 100,000 last month. Moreover, 661,000 discouraged workers dropped out of the workforce last month that, if counted, would push the 10 percent jobless rate to a near-Depression-era 17 percent.

That is why almost half of all Americans now say he has not delivered on his major campaign promises and a majority of Americans now say they have little or no confidence in his future decision-making. In April, 63 percent said they thought Obama would accomplish "a great deal" or "a good amount." That has plunged to 47 percent, reports the AP.

Those poll numbers are expected to get worse as unemployment rises among his party's bedrock constituencies, including blacks and Hispanics. A report from the Economic Policy Institute projects the jobless rate for blacks will reach 17.2 percent in the third quarter of this year and hit 14 percent for Hispanics -- his most loyal supporters.

So there was Obama last week, bashing Wall Street and the big banks, seemingly for everything that's wrong with the economy, and proposing a bank tax to punish them. The White House's thinking: It worked for him in his campaign; maybe it will work for him now.

But this was more than just demagoguery; it was bad policy. Taxing the banks will only reduce the funds they have to lend to business and homebuyers, whom we want to encourage, not discourage.

The bank tax might give Obama more stimulus money to spend, which he is seeking from Congress, but it won't create a single private-sector job for anyone. In fact, it will reduce jobs by siphoning still more money out of the economy and sending it to the federal government, which will waste it -- as it did with bad loans to GM, Chrysler and GMAC.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.