A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

We need jobs, not speeches

If there was ever a political rallying cry worth remembering, it is James Carville’s prescient mantra, “It’s the economy, stupid.” You could build a campaign around those four words, as Bill Clinton so aptly did in 1992 when he defeated President George H.W. Bush.

Almost three years after being elected, President Obama will deliver what may be his most important speech on job creation and the economy Thursday night. As the global economy continues to sputter and cough, you can’t help but wonder whether the initiatives he will outline couldn’t have been crafted and executed, say, six months after the president took office? Was health care more important than job creation and stabilizing the economy?

Since starting this blog in February, I have avoided delving too deeply into politics, a promise I made to myself and one I intend to keep. And today’s dispatch isn’t so much a commentary on politics as it is an observation on leadership — or the lack thereof.

From the White House to Congress to the squabbles in Europe, our collective elected leadership has failed to instill the kind of confidence that is so needed as we lurch forward with an economy in stall speed, millions of people out of work and prospects for a turnaround anytime soon becoming more and more dim.

Can’t we summon the political will and leadership to chart a bold, nonpartisan course through our current morass? Was anyone really happy with the debt ceiling debate? How many of the arguments and positions were truly heartfelt, and how many were purely political theater?

The polls tell the story. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll put Obama’s approval rating at a record low. More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way he is handling the economy. Congress didn’t fare any better.

“Confidence is contagious. So is a lack of confidence,” NFL coach Vince Lombardi once opined.

And so is fear. We need leadership from Washington to Germany to Italy if we are to move the global economy beyond risk and fear and uncertainty.

As we enter what will be a bruising season of national politics, what people are really hungry for are jobs and leadership. Rhetoric doesn’t put food on the table, speeches don’t get our factories moving, and they don’t solve real problems.

Everything old is new again. “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Comments

8 comments on “We need jobs, not speeches

  1. Michael

    The worst part, they just don’t get it.

    The only way to get this economy going is to go back to the basics, and by that I mean we need to “create” jobs – and that is done by encouraging young entrepreneurs to go after their dream’s and make it happen. If you want to fix this economy for the future, you need to take a long hard look at how that future is going to be created.

    Will it be created by massive short term stimulus money or by taking that money and help fund the same group of people (entrepreneurs)who made this country great in the first place? Why extend unemployment compensation for years and not contribute to programs like SEAP (Self-employment assistance program). Put the money where it would really make a difference, it’s not that difficult.

  2. Steve

    If all you want is jobs, then you might as well sink the boating industry, because if everyone has a job but they are working at MacDonalds or Walmart, then they won’t be able to afford a boat – or a house for that matter. It is not just jobs, it is good jobs and if you want America to be manufacturing again and paying well, then we better do something about China and India and other countries that are taking jobs. Until that is dealt with, nothing will matter. We already wasted 2 to 3 decades on letting our jobs leave the country and now 60% of all income is from investing money and the wealthy are doing just that and they won’t be hiring here because labor is cheaper elsewhere. But they will be getting richer. Give the money to the wealthy and they’ll hire people in China, but they can’t because the goods made in China are sold in America and even if we had jobs, they would be low-paying and people couldn’t afford to buy stuff even if it was made in China. We wasted our wealth on playing. And yes, if we want to have people working and competing with China, where the highest paying jobs are still under $1 an hour – well that’s impossible. We’ll never compete with that. Sorry. The Republicans will have us all making $1 an hour if they could and they don’t have a clue how to solve the problem. The Democrats have a clue and that’s about it, but not much more, but at least they know $1 or $2 or $3 – or even $10 an hour won’t do it. That’s not even close enough to be able to afford a new boat. We will be stuck for many years to come until we figure out the basics, which are a bit hidden. Look at Germany, they are booming and they have healthcare, free higher education, social welfare (they must be communists!) and more. Their average hourly cost for labor is HIGHER than in the U.S. We need bite the bullet and learn from them – or are we too stuck up to do so?

  3. Ed

    Good article Bill and good idea Michael. Our future and current entrepreneurs is the only thing that will get this economy humming again. You can’t vilify a class of taxpayers (making or plan to make 250K) by telling them that you are going to raise their taxes and then you spend those future taxes on the wrong programs. Unfortunately I am not very optimistic that we will hear anything Thursday night except a repeat of the same failed programs. I admit that conservatives have not done a very good job of explaining why they oppose the plans of the current administration. They have been labeled as the party of “no” when they really are the party of “not that way”. Sorry about putting politics in my comments Bill but I am now a registered independent for a reason. Let’s hope that I am wrong and the economy will improve before 1/20/2013.

  4. Michael Sciulla

    While it may be true that 60% of those surveyed disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the economy, a mere 12% approve of Congress. We must never overlook the fact that “the President proposes and the Congress disposes.” The fault lies with a ten year-long Congressional process that approved the mountains of debt in which we now all swim and which has failed – due to partisan politics – to enact legislation to put the country back to work. It’s not the economy, stupid, it’s the stupid politics.

  5. ed

    We need to bring jobs back to the U.S. but the Feds don’t get it. Let the states impose a double sales tax on any product not 30% American made and the jobs will return. Some ‘american’ car companies might not make the 30%. Outlandish idea but sometimes it takes crazy ideas to move forward.

  6. Jim

    Steve andy Michael, good intelligent posts. Maybe the author should go back to not delving into politics. I think sometimes the Republicans politicians have been doing everything possible to not help with the economy, because they know, if the economy is good, no power grab in the next election.
    If the president did not cave in during the first stimulous, and had a higher percentage going to infrastructure jobs, the employment figures would be better. But instead, he caved and gave a much higer percentage of the stimulous to the almighty tax cuts. You see where that has gotten us…

  7. Lawrence A. Husick

    I call on all citizens to join a new movement:

    THROW THE BUMS OUT 2012.

    Simple rules: if, in a race, one candidate has never held elected office, and the other one is the incumbent or has ever held elected office, we pledge to vote for the newcomer. As for those in office, you’ve been stealing long enough. You’ve proven that you’re part of the problem – get out of the way and let others lead.

  8. Michael Bryant

    I find the article and the the comments thus far interesting. Some observations: It is tough to talk about economic issues without inserting one’s political persuasion into the discussion. It is interesting, speaking now about the boat business for example, when congress imposed the Luxury Tax, which only affected American workers, not foreign workers, I didn’t hear the party supporting this measure rebelling against the loss of employment. When President Bush and Clinton supported the free trade agreements with other countries, someone didn’t realize that would mean jobs previously existing in the US would now be done by workers who making substantially less than those in the US, especially those with a union affiliation, again nothing was really said. Now virtually every product we design is being built in another country. Where was Steve the Democrat? How about when the Federal Regulators were telling congress that Fanny Mae and Freddie Mack they were buying loans from people who would never be able to repay them back And just today Gibson Guitar’s, in order to import rosewood fret boards is being stopped by the current administration but if they have the fret boards completed in another country they can import them sacrificing jobs here in the US and stopping Gibson from claiming that their guitars are built here in the USA, which they have been for decades. The reason congress has such a low approval rating is the make up was always closer to 50/50 and the majority of either party was always leaning more to the center. Now we have just the opposite situation where there is a much larger portion of each party firmly to opposite sides of the spectrum. But having said that, if you ask the elector-it about their individual congressman or women they would overwhelmingly support them. That tells me they do not like the system. The fear all of us should have is if one of the two parties become so big and the direction they want to take the country is so wrong, we will all suffer. This becomes more apparent when either party gets a significant portion of their votes from either Americans that do not have the capacity to understand what is really going on or do not have America’s best interest at heart.

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