If the title of this post looks familiar its the same title Fareed Zakaria had on his op ed in today’s Washington Post. I would advise everyone to read it, it is excellent. Talking about the president and the State of the Union the other night has been an interesting situation to watch play out. On twitter where everyone has an immediate opinion most of the people were very happy with what Mr. Obama had to say. Immigration, Gun Control, Education, and some talk of job creation. To me, this speech was empty rhetoric. The biggest problem our country faces currently is unemployment and the lack of new jobs created. There are some 10 million people unemployed; 40% longterm unemployed and if you count the people who are under employed the number skyrockets to 25 million. Some say these estimates are extremely low and that the situation is much worse than reported. Some analysts say the unemployment rate is 23%. Unemployment and lack of jobs is a serious crisis on many levels. First off on the personal level, it can be personally devastating to lose your job and spend years looking for a new one. The psychological impact of that can be so harmful that people dont recover from it, they can fall into addictions, lose their marriages, have shorter life spans. Another huge impact is on the economy itself, the deficit and the long term debt. For each of these 25 million people they not all receive government assistance they also arent paying adding revenue through their paying taxes. These issues will have a tremendous long term effect on our economy. We need these people working so they can stabilize our debt and lower our deficit. What we are doing now, which is nothing, is lose/lose for everyone involved. This must change. Our economy is in a very precarious place right now. Job creation is such that it breaks even with population growth; meaning we are creating no new jobs. The number of people who are unemployed has not dropped in over 2 years. We havent seen this kind of situation since the Great Depression; and I am here to tell you we are in the midst of another Great Depression. The Euro Zone tried Austerity and is in the midst of an unheard of triple dip recession. The United States had contracted GDP in the 4th quarter of 2012 for the first time in almost 4 years. March 1st our government is set to have another trillion dollars in cuts, the sequester, which will mean more lay offs, more unemployment insurance paid out, more personal pain.
Americans have overwhelmingly said their biggest concern in job creation. Because its not only the unemployed that are suffering; many people are afraid of being unemployed; which is a horrible way to live. In my opinion president Obama fell completely short in the SOTU by not laying out a job creation plan. Something big, something bold. I have been attacked countless times on twitter for daring to criticize Obama and I am sick of it. If you cant look at a person and judge their good and bad qualities you are lacking in intellectual thinking. Many people say to me, well Obama tried getting a jobs bill passed but he has been obstructed by the GOP. Yes, thats true. So, does POTUS give up? Also, its important to note that the last time Obama put a jobs bill in front of congress was September 2011, almost 18 months ago. That to me is unacceptable. He spent the campaign season and the SOTU talking about creating jobs, but in reality has done absolutely nothing as far as laying out a plan to accomplish this. Immigration and Guns are valuable bills to go after. But they arent the driving problem in America today. Jobs, or lack of jobs, is the biggest issue we face.
Yes I know Mr. Obama cant create jobs or a stimulus to create jobs without congressional approval. Obama strong armed the GOP into ceding on the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff. He certainly could do the same for jobs. In Fareed’s article today he talks about $2Trillion in spending on infrastructure. This is the kind of thing we need. Big and bold. The cost to borrow money is at record lows, so it is of very little cost to the government. We need more big and bold ideas. Like President Hoover in the 1st Great Depression used a tremendous amount of stimulus to build the dam that carries his name. Thats what we need today. Not some small ball kind of effort but something big, something futuristic, something to get people back to work. Americans say their biggest worry is jobs; being that that is the case they will surely go along with more deficit spending to create more jobs and to create a better America. Right now we spend so little on things our country is becoming a third world country instead of the beacon we used to be. Infrastructure, high speed rail, investing heavily in renewable energy, we can do it all. What would end up happening would be more growth, more revenue to lower the debt, more GDP growth.
Its time to play in the major leagues Mr. President. Go big go bold or go home!