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Out of the Woods

October 5th, 2011

Below is the text of a campaign speech I think Obama should be giving. Not that he’s been perfect on jobs, but I think the points need to be made.

Republicans complain all the time about my job record. You want to know about jobs? Let me tell you, I was on jobs from day one. When I came in to office, I was handed an economy that was losing about three quarters of a million jobs every month–and it was getting worse, fast. The first thing I did was to push for the Stimulus Act, and I got it passed in record time. And you know what? A year later, we had positive job growth. We were gaining more jobs than we were losing. We weren’t out of the woods yet, but we were miles ahead of where we had been.

Now, where were the Republicans on this? Well, they were against it. They fought against the stimulus. They didn’t like the fact that it promised to create jobs with government investment. No, they said, we insist that it have more tax breaks for rich people! Because that’s worked so well in the past! So they watered it down, made it less effective. If they had had their way, it never would have passed at all, and instead of halting the decline into recession and depression, we would have sunk even deeper.

That’s what you’ll get if you put Republicans back in power. No will to save the economy.

Next, the auto industry was in trouble. Now, the auto industry is incredibly important to the United States. A lot of great jobs in that industry. But it was dying. I pushed to assist the industry. And you know what? We saved it. And we saved a lot of jobs, and created more. All three American companies are profitable, and they are growing.

Now, where were the Republicans on this? Well, they were against it. They fought against the bailout. You know what they said? “Let it die,” they said. “Let it go bankrupt,” they said, so that they could crush the unions and lower wages and reduce benefits. They even complained that I had taken over the industry–because I was trying to limit huge bonuses for rich corporate bosses who failed in their jobs–and that the industry had become my own private kingdom. [chuckles] Yeah, right. You know what? They were wrong, on the whole thing. They would have killed jobs and made what was left worse.

That’s what you’ll get if you put Republicans back in power. Neglect of American industry and an inability to keep good jobs at home.

The fact is, I’ve been working to save and create jobs ever since I got into office. And you know what Republicans have done? They have fought my efforts. They have fought hard to kill every jobs proposal I put through.

Why did they do this? Because they knew that if I was able to turn the economy around, that would hurt them in the next election. They even said it! They admitted it! Their number one job was to make me fail. Their words!

Even though our efforts have worked–and any claim the stimulus failed is a lie–even though the work we’ve been doing has created jobs, even though the economy has improved dramatically over where it was when I came into office, Republicans still fight any real effort to create jobs. The economy could have been a lot better today if they had only let me do my job instead of fighting every attempt I make to help you get a job.

Now, their objections would be easier to take if they were trying to save jobs as hard as I was, and were passing alternative plans, other than just more tax cuts for the wealthy. So, how many jobs plans have they passed?

None. Not one. Not one single blessed one.

But you might say, hey, but what about plans like the one they announced earlier this year?

Well, that wasn’t actually a jobs plan. That was a bill to deregulate industry which they called a jobs plan to make it sound good. It was mostly a plan to allow companies to pollute more and to take away worker protections. Does that sound like a job creator to you? Sure doesn’t to me. But that wasn’t all-they also wanted to slash taxes for rich people. They weren’t even targeted tax cuts. Republicans will claim that every tax cut they propose for wealthy people is a “jobs plan” too. Just calling it that doesn’t make it so.

When Republicans took control of the House in 2010, they had a chance to show they were serious. They had the perfect chance to start working hard to save and create jobs.

Did they make it their first order of business to create jobs? No! They wanted to spend their first day reading the Constitution. Now, I love the Constitution. I used to teach it, in fact. I love a good reading as much as anyone else. But there’s a time for grandstanding, and there’s a time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. They grandstanded. And you know what? They actually did a bad job of it. You’d think that just reading the Constitution out loud would be easy, but they couldn’t even get that right.

After the reading, what was their first order of business? They tried to kill the Affordable Care Act, falsely claiming that it would kill jobs–it hasn’t, and it’s not going to, of course. But then, they tried to push spending cuts that actually would kill jobs. Then they focused on abortion. But nothing to create jobs.

Now, there was a bill to create jobs on the first day of the new Republican House. In fact, there were two. Both were proposed by Democrats. And both were killed in committee by the Republicans. They proposed nothing as an alternative.

No, instead of trying to create jobs for you, when Republicans took over the House, they tried to get more tax cuts for rich people–saying that these rich people would, in turn, create middle class jobs for Americans. How many of you believe that’s gonna happen? We’ve had those cuts in place for ten years now; how is that working out for you? How many here believe that giving a multi-billionaire an extra billion will make him create more jobs? Didn’t work before. It’s not gonna work now.

No, Republicans have been silent on jobs, except when they try to stop me from saving yours.

So now, I’m trying to push for jobs again. I have a new plan. After saving millions of jobs, I am trying to create jobs, again. I have put forth my proposal, one that is very specific and realistic. Economists call it a bold and constructive plan.

And where are the Republicans on this? They’re against it. Why? Not because it’s new spending–it’s completely paid for. No, they hate it because part of the plan is to make rich people pay at least the same amount of tax as you do, instead of less. They hate that, and they want to kill your chance of getting a job if it means a billionaire has to pay his fair share.

Is that the leadership you want? Tax cuts for the rich for breakfast, more tax cuts for the rich for lunch, yet more upper-class tax cuts for dinner, and abolish capital gains taxes and estate taxes for dessert? You want that? Because that’s what they’re offering.

Is that the leadership you want? Propose no new jobs programs? Kill the auto industry? Crush the unions? Hold the economy hostage? Downgrade our credit rating? Send our best jobs overseas?

Because that’s what they have been fighting for. That’s what they have been doing.

Instead, do you want people who will try to protect your jobs, and create more? Then give Congress back to the Democrats. We have not only promised to fight for your jobs, we’ve actually been doing it. All we want is a clear road out of the woods, and we’ll lead you out. All we want is a chance to do what needs to be done without Republicans blocking the path, without them filibustering every bill, without them trying to tack yet another tax cut for the rich onto every single act.

Give us the clear road. Elect the people who will fight for you.

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  1. Troy
    October 5th, 2011 at 12:31 | #1

    We are so fucked.

    This is what happened with household debt during the Bush Boom:


    This chart is graphs annual household debt-takeon over annual household wages.

    You can see that debt was growing at 10% during most of the 1990s and then it took off in the 2000s as we all went debt-crazy, thanks to the lower interest rates and teaser-rate / suicide lending in real estate.

    On a sheer dollar basis, the debt surge looked like this:


    Quite a spike!

    That was the stealth stimulus that was keeping the system together.

    Stiglitz, Clinton’s ex econ guy, has a good article here that you should read:


    The Obama team has done a substandard job in understanding what they were facing in 2009.

    We done goofed everything up 1996-2005. Reversing our financial mistakes are going to prove to be as impossible as reversing our mistakes in Iraq.

  2. Tim Kane
    October 6th, 2011 at 03:49 | #2

    The Republicans have been telling you for decades that if you just give more and more money to someone else, you will somehow be better off.

    They called it trickle down economics.

    We’re still waiting on the trickle. All we get are drips. And it ain’t money that’s dripping on us. It’s unemployment. It’s poverty. It’s massive debt. It’s illness without access to health care. It’s constant war, constant fear, constant economic terror.

    To refuse to call economic warfare, warfare, is to surrender the fight, without a fight. Is that what kind of people we are?

    Harry Truman used to say, how many times do you need to be hit over the head before you realize who is hitting you.

    You are being hit over the head by a pipe wrench. And it aint unions who are doing the hitting. Wake up and smell the coffee, people. It’s time to set yourself free. All you have to lose is nothing. All you have to gain is affordable health care, jobs paying 50% more than they pay now, security in your homestead, affordable education, peace on earth and good will towards the common men. The rich be damned.

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