Obama eyes job growth

OBAMA EYES JOB GROWTH…. President Obama appeared at the Brookings Institution earlier, and presented his proposals for additional — and accelerated — job growth. It’s a pretty wide-reaching plan.

The pitch included multiple angles. The president proposed a variety of small-business tax cuts; additional investment in highways, transit, rail, aviation and, water; and new incentives for energy programs and energy manufacturing jobs. For those who are already struggling, Obama proposed keeping additional aid — unemployment insurance, COBRA, etc. — going. And while the president did not put a price tag on his jobs agenda — a noticeable omission — he did identify use of unspent TARP money as a way to pay for the new investments.

But the speech was interesting for offering more just the president’s vision of a new jobs bill; he also took a stroll down memory lane, explaining how policymakers rescued the economy from a likely depression. Notably, Obama called out those who were wrong.

“So, in the weeks and months that followed, we undertook a series of difficult steps to prevent that outcome. And we were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve.”

Recognizing the likelihood that congressional Republicans will prioritize long-term deficit reduction over short-term job creation, the president also took a moment to highlight who’s responsible for the current budget shortfall.

“One of the central goals of this administration is restoring fiscal responsibility. Even as we have had to spend our way out of this recession in the near term, we have begun to make the hard choices necessary to get our country on a more stable fiscal footing in the long run.

“Despite what some have claimed, the cost of the Recovery Act is only a very small part of our current budget imbalance. In reality, the deficit had been building dramatically over the previous eight years. Folks passed tax cuts and expensive entitlement programs without paying for any of it – even as health care costs kept rising, year after year. As a result, the deficit had reached $1.3 trillion when we walked into the White House. And I’d note: these budget busting tax cuts and spending programs were approved by many of the same people who are now waxing political about fiscal responsibility while opposing our efforts to reduce deficits by getting health care costs under control. It’s a sight to see.”

More of this, please.