President Obama's post-Labor Day "jobs" speech will be his last chance to launch an economic policy with any chance of manifesting its effect -- both economic and political -- before the November 2012 elections.
He has three options. In order of descending likelihood they are: a timid hodgepodge of previous proposals, a bold left of center initiative or a turn to free markets "nuclear option."
It's that nuclear option that is the most fascinating and most unlikely. He could decide to embrace all the major Republican, Tea Party, free market ideas: marginal business and personal tax rate cuts (leading to a net tax cut); big discretionary spending cuts to be implemented before the 2012 election; genuine long term reductions in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security costs written into law now; major deregulation -- including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Dodd-Frank financial burdens and nanny-state consumer regulations; unlimited oil- and gas-drilling, and shale-fracking authorization; permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts, repeal of the double tax on American corporations' foreign profits, limits on unemployment insurance extensions; and withdrawal of his big union initiatives, such as the National Labor Relations Board's opposition to Boeing Co. building a factory in South Carolina.
Republicans would, of course, vote for them all, as they are Republican positions. The Republican candidate for president as well as GOP congressional candidates would be left with almost nothing (except opposition to Obamacare) on the economic front to oppose in the president's policies.
Here's the kicker, if all those proposals were passed in to law, with overwhelming bipartisan support, it might well trigger an explosion in business investment and consumer confidence, and thus, economic growth and job creation at an invigorating level.
In fact, something like that is probably the only thing -- short of electing a free-market Republican president and Congress in 2012 -- that can break the current paralysis of business investment and consumer spending that is necessary before a real economic recovery can begin.
What Republicans and other free-market analysts have been calling the overhang of "uncertainty" regarding business fears of new federal interventions, regulatory burdens and federally mandated employee costs to business has -- after three years of the Obama administration -- actually turned into a "certainty."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.