WASHINGTON -- President Obama's second term wish-list -- his ideas for jump-starting the job-starved economy -- looked a lot like his warmed-over, half-baked proposals of the past.
With rare exceptions, Obama's fifth State of the Union address was a costly laundry list of more big government programs aimed at his party's political base.
More job-training programs? There are 47 different federal job-training programs right now, costing $18 billion a year, according to the General Accountability Office. And 51 other programs offer job-training assistance.
With the unemployment rate rising last month to nearly 8 percent and likely heading higher, and economic growth screeching to a halt in the fourth quarter, Obama is under pressure to come up with some new ideas to put America back to work and reboot the economy's moribund growth rate.
But the ideas he presented to Congress were a hastily prepared, duct-taped package of proposals that came right out of a 1930s-style Democratic playbook, including many that have been rejected on Capitol Hill in both chambers.
Perhaps the oldest liberal canard was his proposal to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour by 2015, and index future increases to inflation. Nothing will destroy jobs faster, especially among teenagers, young adults, minorities and the middle class.
While these are the groups he's targeted the most for assistance, they have suffered the most under his anti-job, anti-growth policies, and they have the highest unemployment rates.
A Democratic-controlled Congress raised the minimum wage by 10.6 percent in July of 2009. “In the ensuing six months, nearly 600,000 teen jobs disappeared, even with nearly 4 percent growth in the economy,” says William Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's small-business lobby.
Small businesses, who create the lion's share of all jobs in our country, are struggling to survive in Obama's weak economy. Raising their labor costs now will result in steep layoffs, hiring freezes, or both.
Obama's costly, government-centered blueprint for new jobs has failed industrial policies written all over it. Ask Japan, which has tried every public works spending idea there is, and is still sinking into a recession.