Obama’s Jobs Speech Only a Start

The president’s proposal is merely a Band-Aid at a time when the nation needs long-term solutions to ensure economic stability and a return to confidence, says Mark McKinnon.

09.12.11 6:27 AM ET

Tonight Republicans will debate again, and the first order of business will be Rick Perry being attacked on Social Security and explaining what he really means about his position on the program. The second will be an opportunity for each candidate to articulate exactly what he or she supports in President Obama’s jobs speech last week and what they would propose differently.

Although the Obama administration continually points to a series of unfortunate events for its economic policy failures, missed opportunities may be the hallmark of this president’s first, and perhaps only, term.

As my friend Michael Gerson writes in his review of Obama’s address to Congress on Thursday night, “It is not particularly courageous to demand courage from others.”

Admirably, the response to the address from Republican leaders in Congress, so far, has been fairly open and conciliatory. And I hope it remains so. And I hope Republicans pass a bill. It will be the right thing to do from both a policy and political perspective. If Republicans don’t help pass something, we will deserve to get Trumanized.

But even if every measure in the president’s outline of his yet-to-be-written jobs bill passes both the House and Senate, the temporary tax cuts and son-of-stimulus (yes, I said it) spending are not much more than Band-Aids on a stuck pig.

Temporary tax cuts don’t create permanent confidence, nor permanent jobs. Infrastructure spending does not create immediate jobs, and more than half of those jobs will pull from the pool of the already employed. (See the Mercatus study.)

More than $814 million in stimulus pending in 2009 did not fix the problems we face. Nor will $447 million more.

Long-term solutions are needed for permanent tax reform, entitlement reform and spending reform to ensure economic stability and a return to confidence so job creators can plan for more than short-term survival.

Had President Obama acted on the bipartisan recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission made in Dec. 2010, or those of Rep. Paul Ryan, and showed the courage to discount politics and public opinion, he might have regained the mantle of a what promised to be a historic presidency.

The jobs speech was a start.  But it will take bold measures on tax and entitlement reforms to move the needle on the budget, the economy, consumer confidence and ultimately, on the measure of Obama’s presidency.