- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama was giving the electorate the old razzle-dazzle in a speech in Albany, N.Y., on Tuesday. Though billed as remarks on the economy, it was quickly revealed to be the next page in Mr. Obama’s script to get re-elected by blaming Congress for not acting. Unveiled as his new weapon in that offensive: a deadly congressional “to-do” list.

Explaining that he does what first lady Michelle Obama wants when she gives him a list, Mr. Obama tap-danced his way through each item in a speech filled with thematic non sequiturs. The best was almost a setup for a joke. Mr. Obama followed up his assertion that the “true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector … not Washington” with a recital of all the things the government needs to do about job creation. (“Get out of the way” wasn’t one of them.)

Mr. Obama’s to-do list is vague. He asked Congress to intervene in personal mortgages, extend clean-energy tax credits, place veterans in jobs as cops, firefighters and employees at national parks, “stop rewarding companies who ship jobs overseas and use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that are moving jobs back here to America” and “help small business owners by giving them a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages.”

This shovel-ready president has memorized his lines but doesn’t get the big picture. Government intervention in the market is what facilitated the housing crisis in the first place. Clean-energy jobs are the new fad, but “a Spanish study demonstrated that more jobs are lost for every green job that government creates,” according to Romina Boccia at the Heritage Foundation. Thinking a new federal program to funnel veterans into taxpayer-funded jobs will do anything for America’s bottom line is absurd on its face. Moving expenses are a drop in the bucket of financial considerations that drive the manufacturing decisions of U.S. companies.

Tax credits for small-business hiring may sound good, but it wouldn’t work. “You don’t hire somebody because you get some tax credit. That’s just ridiculous,” said Dan Danner, president of the National Federation of Independent Business, to The Washington Times. “At the end of the day, the obligations that you take on when you hire someone - their salary, payroll taxes and the cost of benefits - are all enormous compared to any tax credit.”

Conservatives are panning the president’s performance. “This is another hype-and-blame trick from a president who thinks turning the economy around and solving our unemployment problem is everyone else’s job but his own,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told The Washington Times. “He’s out of ideas,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, “so he’s resorting to the same old political gimmicks and games that he criticizes others for using.”

Mr. Obama’s latest number seems drawn straight from the musical “Chicago”: “Give ‘em the old three-ring circus … when you’re in trouble, go into your dance.” He’s hoping to outdance Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but hope alone won’t deliver him this election.

The Washington Times

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