Thursday, September 8, 2011

The American Jobs Bill and Pink Cotton Candy: A Comparative Study

"There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation," the president said. "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."
So set the tone for tonight's speech to a joint session of Congress.  President Obama spoke for the better part of an hour through various measures he wants enacted in order to spur job growth.  He frequently implored Congress to pass the bill by repeatedly saying the phrase, "pass the bill." 
Truth be told, I'm not sure what to glean from tonight's events between the Jedi mind trick and John Boehner looking like he was receiving radio signals about whether to react.  I mean...I can't really argue with payroll taxes or measures designed to encourage businesses to begin hiring, I suppose. (I say the latter with an asterisk until I actually see how much these measures will cost).  I'm not for dumping more money into schools or infrastructure projects, but I'm not really surprised that the president hit those particular buttons.

The speech reminded me of pink cotton candy...fluffy and sweet, but unfilling.  After so much ballyhoo about the gravity of this moment, I just expected a bit more.  The bill really doesn't seem to do much of anything, which is a frightening statement considering that it's projected to cost 447 billion dollars.  I'm glad that he is now expanding the mandatory cut amount from the debt ceiling agreement to include this new expenditure, but like many proposed (and sadly, actual) pieces of legislation, there was no projection of its true effect on the economy or the recovery.  I understand that projecting numbers and failing to deliver is problematic, but it would be nice to know what we're buying before we do.
My other problem is the timing.  The urgency is compelling, and I'm sure that it played well as far as a rhetorical device, but if passage of the bill is so urgent, why does it come on the heels of a month-long vacation that the President just took?  What took so long?  Why the delay?  When the President mentioned that an election was coming in fourteen months, but that Americans couldn't wait fourteen months, I got confused, because apparently, a month is okay.
I guess we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment