Donald Lambro


President Obama's latest swing of the bat to get the economy growing again looked a lot like his previous attempts when he couldn't make a base hit.

He's had nearly three years to score in an economy that remains in a recession, but has struck out repeatedly, losing voter confidence and raising doubts about his chances for re-election in 2012.

Even the liberal New York Times called his nearly $500 billion jobs plan a "mix ... of extensions and expansions of existing policies," with a few new ideas thrown in to hoodwink voters into hoping that this one could be a home run. Don't hold your breath.

"The plan -- for the most part -- is a conventional stimulus, much like the one passed at the beginning of the president's term," says The Washington Post.

If all the previous infrastructure spending and temporary business payroll tax cuts didn't work, why would more of the same yield a different result? Especially when his latest scheme costs about half of what was spent on the 2009 stimulus.

If you're keeping count of what Obama's economic stimulus experiments cost, the number is somewhere near $1.5 trillion, all of it adding to the national debt, and very little of it producing the jobs he said it would. In fact, the economy's gotten much worse, with zero net new jobs created in August, and the economy barely growing at 0.8 percent this year.

The plan Obama proposed last week before a joint session of Congress failed to excite Wall Street or the stock market, which has been in a nosedive. It failed to move his job approval scores, which are running about 40 percent, and it failed to boost the country's depleted confidence in his presidency.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans now say the nation's economic outlook is "getting worse," according to the Gallup Poll.

In his overinflated rhetoric, Obama made the plan sound like the second coming. But nothing in his plan, even if it were to become law, would have much of an effect this year or next.

His $140 billion in infrastructure spending would take a long time to get into the contract pipeline, with no permanent impact on job creation.

Republicans like parts of his $245 billion in payroll tax cuts, which would extend this year's employee tax cut for another year, lowering it to 3.1 percent in 2012, and cutting the 6.2 payroll tax that companies pay to 3.1 percent. Still, the tax cuts would rise to their former higher rate at the end of next year, hitting workers and business at a time when the economy may still be sluggish.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.