Even though the president only mentioned the word “jobs” three times in his second inaugural address, he nevertheless wants us to believe that the economy is his “number one priority”, according to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. Hmm:
In contrast to his inaugural address, President Obama’s State of the Union speech will focus primarily on jobs and the economy, outlining new initiatives on manufacturing, education, clean energy and infrastructure.
He will elaborate on the big themes of the inaugural — immigration, gun violence and climate change — but a top White House official tells me the State of the Union will have a “heavy economic focus,” specifically on “the middle class as the driver of economic growth.”
To drive home the point that the president sees jobs and the economy as his number one priority, the president’s travel after the speech will be used to promote his new economic initiatives.
The new initiatives will entail new federal spending, but the spending will be off-set by reductions elsewhere in the federal budget. In terms of cost, these initiatives will be relatively modest: the days of big economic stimulus programs are over.
The president will use his speech to warn Congress to avoid automatic spending cuts — the dreaded “sequester” — scheduled to go into effect on March 1. The across-the-board cuts, the president will warn, would jeopardize the economic recovery and endanger national security.
But the president will also make what the official called “a progressive case for deficit reduction” — warning that if entitlement spending is not brought under control it will crowd out spending on other social programs that progressives hold dear.
The president has zero interest in reducing the deficit. Remember, then-candidate Obama called George W. Bush “unpatriotic” in 2008 for adding $4 Trillion to the national deficit in eight years. This was “irresponsible,” he said, and pledged -- if elected -- to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. He won that election but then promptly broke his promise by adding more than $5 Trillion to the national deficit in his first term alone.
So where are we now? Nearly $17 Trillion in debt and headed straight for a European-style debt crisis.
Meanwhile, the president and the House Minority Leader don’t believe America has a spending problem. Incredible. As I noted yesterday, wasteful government spending is one major reason why private sector job growth is so anemic. Question: How can anyone possibly hope to solve a problem if they don’t understand one of its root causes?
The president can say all he wants about growing the economy and “putting Americans back to work” on Tuesday, but actions speak louder than words. Rhetoric notwithstanding, I genuinely hope that he will forthrightly address the scarcity of jobs in America. At this point, unfortunately, it seems -- like always -- that this president has other priorities.