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The bank would put “all those [unemployed] construction workers” back to work, he said. And it would provide Mr. Obama with lots of photo ops at jobsites, saying “look what I’ve done for you.”

If this sounds familiar, it was sold to us in the guise of the 2009 job stimulus bill that was supposed to put the construction industry back to work. Some short-term jobs were created but when the building projects were completed, the jobs ended. The construction industry today is in a recession.

Making Mr. Obama the investor-in-chief, deciding how and where the nation’s capital resources should be spent, hasn’t worked and isn’t going to work. Ask Japan, which has gone on a public-works spending binge though its economy has been in a slump for two decades.

Better to shift federal public-works spending decisions to the states, along with the gas tax money for highways, and let them - not remote federal bureaucrats - set their own priorities. Broaden the tax base by eliminating dozens of loopholes, then cut business and individual tax rates, and slash the capital gains tax to unlock needed, job-creating investment capital.

Let the marketplace make the investment decisions that have made America the largest and most successful economy in the world. Mr. Obama has got better things to do with his time, like trying to figure out why his job approval polls have fallen to 39 percent.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.