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White House focus remains on jobs

By Ben Pershing
In a week where hardly anyone in Washington has been able to get to work, the White House remains focused on one issue -- jobs, and the lack thereof.

"Obama's top economic advisers offered a cautious forecast on Thursday that U.S. job gains for 2010 will average 95,000 a month, with analysts expecting hiring to expand by spring," McClatchy reports. That forecast was part of a broader look at the economy from the Council of Economic Advisers. The Associated Press writes: "Casting its first year as positive, the administration's 462-page report served as a summary of its logic and a pitch for Obama's future agenda. Recognizing voters were likely to hold Obama to account for the economy, the White House team cast blame on their predecessors and unpopular Wall Street bankers." The Wall Street Journal notes that "in a letter to Congress accompanying the report ... Obama called the more than 7 million jobs lost during the recession a 'terrible human tragedy' and renewed his call for lawmakers to advance legislation to boost jobs through small-business tax breaks, infrastructure projects and clean-energy incentives."

Some groups want Obama to do more. "Amid signs that black Americans are not sharing in the nation's fledgling economic recovery, President Obama on Wednesday met at the White House with African American leaders, who urged him to adopt a new approach more tightly focused on chronically depressed communities," the Los Angeles Times writes, adding: "The meeting came at a time when some black leaders have faulted Obama for not pursuing policies more targeted on the economic woes of their community." The New York Times says that "Mr. Obama and the three other black men who met with him for more than an hour in the Oval Office did not focus on programs for African-Americans or limit their talks to issues of concern primarily to blacks, participants said. ... Mr. Obama has said that broader efforts to help the disadvantaged will also benefit blacks." The Washington Post points out that Jesse Jackson wasn't present: "The leaders invited to the White House had requested the meeting with Obama in a letter two weeks ago, and Jackson was not among them. A spokesman for Jackson would say only that he was not invited."

The Senate is still mulling a bipartisan jobs bill, though there won't be any votes on the package until after the President's Day recess. The Democrats who are in town will gather for lunch to discuss the package. "Senate Democratic leaders ended Wednesday still planning to plow ahead with a session on Thursday despite a blizzard blanketing the Washington area," The Hill reports. The Wall Street Journal adds that "several Republicans are expected to ultimately support the measure, but senators indicated Tuesday they simply wanted more time." The centerpiece of the bill remains a Social Security tax break for companies that hire new employees. Will that idea work? The AP is bearish: "There's a problem with the bipartisan jobs bill emerging in the Senate: It won't create many jobs. ... Tax experts and business leaders said companies are unlikely to hire workers just to receive a tax break. Before businesses start hiring, they need increased demand for their products, more work for their employees and more revenue to pay those workers. ... CBO estimates that such a tax break would generate only eight to 18 full-time jobs per $1 million in tax breaks."

As for reining in the deficit, Bloomberg has an Obama interview in which he walks back a campaign pledge: "President Barack Obama said he is 'agnostic' about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit. ... Obama repeatedly vowed during the 2008 presidential election campaign that he would not raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 and households earning less than $250,000 a year. When senior White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner suggested in August that the administration might be open to going back on that pledge, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs quickly reiterated the president's promise. In the interview, Obama said that putting preconditions on the agenda of a bipartisan advisory commission, which he said he would soon establish, would just undermine its purpose."

Obama is also getting some heat from the left for saying in the same interview that he doesn't "begrudge" the huge bonuses received by the heads of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Under the headline, "Obama Still Doesn't Get It," Simon Johnson writes that "the White House has a major public relations disaster on its hands. ... This is the antithesis of a free-market system." Politico notes that "a few weeks ago ... Obama was blasting Wall Street bonuses as "obscene" and criticizing recipients as "fat cats who are getting awarded for their failure. ... Recognizing how damaging the comments could be, the White House press team launched a full-fledged pushback, saying that Bloomberg took the remarks out of context." Here's the White House blog entry on the subject.

The White House is also busy defending itself against attacks on its national security policies, specifically on John Brennan. Kit Bond said this week that Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser should step down from his post, after Brennan took shots at the GOP in a USA Today op-ed. The White House says Brennan isn't going anywhere. Politico writes that "the exchange capped weeks of unusually acrimonious sniping between the parties following the Christmas Day bombing plot, with some observers saying the flurry of charges and countercharges has very likely done irreparable damage to Brennan's relationship with Republicans on Capitol Hill."

Beyond the Beltway, the new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that most Americans know relatively little about the Tea Party movement, though "the opening is clear: Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade -- since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996 -- and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs." The Daily Caller reports that many Tea Party activists are starting to funnel their time and energy into building PACs. The Boston Herald says "gubernatorial candidates are cozying up to Tea Party organizations across the Bay State in an effort to brew support from the same disenchanted voters that catapulted U.S. Sen. Scott Brown to office." E.J. Dionne writes: "Something else is going on in the Tea Party movement, and it has deep roots in our history. Anti-statism, a profound mistrust of power in Washington, dates all the way to the Anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution because they saw it concentrating too much authority in the central government."

By Ben Pershing  |  February 11, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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There is no cash flow in our economy to create activity that will require more hands and thus more hiring. And, if anything, taxes may go up to re-fill the empty U.S. Treasury from its mammoth budget deficit. The U.S. government bailout made the rich richer with unrestrained bonuses, but the credit is still tight for
the small guys and homeowners. Where the lift in the economy, then, will come from to create jobs?

In addition to the massive Wall Street bailout funding, the U.S. is spending billions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in financing Pakistan's cooperation. On top of that come another $35 billion the U.S. Congress allocated
forcibly to Pentagon to order transport airplanes that the Pentagon insists they are not needed. And this congressional pork takes away $ 35 billion from the economy and wastes it while unemployment is still around 10%! And, to add insult to injury, CNN News reports today that Blackwater has been billing the U.S. government for plane tickets and for monthly salaries -surely hefty ones- for prostitutes and strippers for its personnel! And this means that prostitutes can live like gold diggers do as mistresses of billionaires, but they gold-dig the American taxpayers.

Now. Add all that siphoning of billions above out of the U.S. economy, plus add the billions siphoned by crooks in Medicare fraud, and I don't see how our emaciated economy can fatten up and produce jobs. Our economy, therefore, still is like an emaciated cow that is milked by special interests of the military and industrial Complex, the Wall Street giants, and the crooks sucking the Federal Medicare bureaucracy, while
the American public is just the suckers that live on promises only! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

Posted by: Nikos_Retsos | February 12, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

During the campaign Obama promised to "Work on creating Jobs", and that "I have a plan" for this. It now seems that Obamas planning period is "A year late and $11,000,000,000,000.00 dollars short."

Posted by: jonweiss1 | February 12, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Are you interested in issues facing the African American community? If so, tune into the PBS show Basic Black, the longest running show addressing people of color on television. Watch TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m EST LIVE at or on channel 2 in Boston. You can also participate in a live chat at starting at 4 pm.

Posted by: MardeniWGBH | February 11, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

It seems that when Obama said that he would focus on JOBS, he meant he would focus on DESTROYING JOBS. That's why he is still threatening us with his horrendous scams, mainly Obamacare and cap and trade.

Nothing is destroying businesses and jobs more than the uncertainty and fear generated by Obama's scams.

Nothing would help businesses and jobs, and boost the economy, more than for Obama to be impeached and for the threat of Obama’s scams to disappear as soon as possible.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 11, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

As Obama continues his mad dash towards enslaving the American People, any jobs Obama may "create" will be mythical jobs in districts that don’t even exist (as the jobs “created” with the stimulus money). Or, worse yet, government “green” jobs for ACORN-types, paid by us to help Obama lie, manipulate, intimidate, and coerce us into socialism/Marxism.

Our Canadian neighbors see the situation more clearly than many Americans:

"Behind the scene and closed doors, Obama is continuing his dark mission of the ongoing takeover of all major US businesses and creating an atmosphere that will disallow small to medium sized businesses to exist.

"Like his Marxist mentor Saul Alinsky, Obama despises the middle-class (they have traditionally wielded too much power for Obama to allow) as well as the USA.

“Therefore, Obama will continue to work towards ensuring increasing unemployment..."

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 11, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Obama has his head in the sand. He should push for mandatory E-Verify for all employers to be used on present and new hires. The service is free and would eliminate most of the 8 million illegal aliens now holding American jobs. This would go a long way towards reducing our unemployment as these jobs don't have to be created.

Posted by: Estoban | February 11, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

A job without justice is slavery by another name.


• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser electromagnetic microwave/laser "directed energy" weapon system to silently torture, impair, subjugate citizens deemed to be dissidents or undesirables -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

• Victims' own cell phones may be used to target them for silent impairment.

• How a young FBI agent's "I believe you" gave victim the faith to go public.


Bucks County, PA- based MAGLOCLEN fusion center: "Mid-Atlantic States Ground Zero of a Multi-Agency Federal-Local American Gestapo"

• When will Obama administration act to restore the rule of law? OR ("stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 11, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: kaytaylor9 | February 11, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

The problem for Obama is that his jobs-centric message doesn't appear to be clicking with Americans. He needs immediate job creation before Americans begin to trust him on this issue.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 11, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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