President Obama’s much-anticipated jobs speech will undoubtedly cover more of the same things that already haven’t not worked. He will propose an infrastructure bank, extension of unemployment and food stamps, promotion of green jobs, more government-corporate partnerships, and a one-year extension of the payroll tax reduction. He’ll advocate a second stimulus. He may be flanked by his jobs commission, headed by the CEO ofGeneral Electric, which earlier issued a lame interim jobs report.
Obama cannot propose a real jobs program. His constituents would rebel. A real jobs program attacks too many of the core beliefs of his party, such as minimum wages and higher taxes on the better off. Even if his presidency rested on it, Obama couldn’t emulate Bill Clinton’s 1996 Welfare Reform Act that triangulated him from his own party. There is no way for Obama to enunciate the equivalent of Clinton’s “We must end welfare as we know it.” His core beliefs rule out such a dramatic move to the center.
His speech will not be about jobs. Instead, it will be a campaign speech in disguise.