That's not quite the verbatim quote, but it's pretty close. While the political media -- including yours truly -- was trying to keep pace with the HurriCain information overload yesterday, President Obama made the short drive over to Georgetown to bang the drum for the latest iteration of his so-called jobs bill. Why Georgetown? Because he needed another bridge as his backdrop, of course. Quick aside: He probably won't tell you that the other bridge he used to as a jobs bill prop wasn't even eligible to receive funding through the legislation. No matter; it's all about the visuals. So as traffic ground to a standstill on Washington's Key Bridge to accommodate his photo-op, the president channeled the Divine to send a familiar message -- "we can't wait" to "pass this bill:"
When Democrats invoke the Almighty to push big government spending programs, liberals applaud. When conservatives mention God, it's time to panic over incipient American theocracy. Notice how Obama leads up to his money line with the implication that the GOP-held House is wasting its time on frivolous projects while Americans are desperate for jobs. This presidential snark intentionally ignores several relevant facts: (a) The, ahem, "Republican Congress" has already passed several elements of the president's jobs plan, including patent reform and three free trade agreements. (b) Last week, "John's" House of Representatives overwhelmingly repealed a harmful job-killing provision -- a move the White House applauded -- yet Harry Reid's Democratic Senate has dragged its feet on taking it up. Every Senate Republican and several handfuls of Democrats are on board; this delay is all on Reid. (c) Speaking of Senate inaction, House Republicans have sent 15 jobs bills to the Senate, where they have been ignored. Most of those measures deal with scaling back Washington's oppressive regulatory regime, which small business owners cite as the top impediment to growth.
Incidentally, the version of the jobs bill Obama is touting deals with revamping America's (not so) "crumbling infrastructure" by spending money we don't have on new shovel ready projects -- although the White House has ditched that particular phrase, for obvious reasons. It would be paid for by tax hikes on "the rich," including the host of small businesses owners who file their company's taxes as individuals. This proposed pay-for has been so unpopular that all 47 Senate Republicans and a number of Democrats have repeatedly opposed it. Let's also recall that even under favorable estimates, the broader American Jobs Act could cost as much as $1.6 million per job "supported." And since we're on the topic of government infrastructure expenditures, let's check in on the Keynesian panacea known as California's high speed rail project:
California's bullet train will cost an estimated $98.5 billion to build over the next 22 years, a price nearly double any previous projection and one likely to trigger political sticker shock, according to a business plan scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday. In a key change, the state has decided to stretch out the construction schedule by 13 years, completing the Southern California-to-Bay Area high speed rail in 2033 rather than 2020. In the past, the California High Speed Rail Authority has estimated the cost of the system at $43 billion, based on finishing construction in 2020.
Yes, the projected cost has more than doubled and it won't be completed until I'm pushing 50, but...jobs, or something! The truth is that Obama doesn't really care about the fate of his bill. I suspect he knows as well as anyone that it won't really work. In some ways, be probably prefers that it goes nowhere because that outcome fuels his last-gasp political narrative. This is all about the appearance of "doing something" to fix the jobs mess he's failed to address for three years -- and to paint his political opposition as the scapegoat for his own policy shortcomings. Don't believe me? Check it:
Democratic operatives are quick to note that they never expected to pass the jobs bills through the Senate, adding that the multiple roll calls will put Republicans on the defensive and force them to explain on the 2012 campaign trail why they voted no on measures that poll well with voters.
But remember, folks, the president and his party are "not interested in allocating blame." No sir. Perish the thought (skip ahead to the 35 second mark):
In that same interview, Obama was asked if the country is in better shape today than it was four years ago. His response: We're better off now than we would have been in the absence of my awesome Stimulus, Dodd-Frank, and Obamacare agenda. Rebuttal, Mr. Speaker?
The look Boehner shoots that reporter just before responding is priceless. Parting thought: Why do Republicans want to rape and murder bridges?