Does Obama have any hope of creating jobs?

The president promises to tackle unemployment now that the debt deal is done. But with the GOP bent on spending cuts, there's arguably little Obama can do

President Obama wants to invest in infrastructure projects to boost employment, but Republicans may stand in his way.
(Image credit: CC BY: The White House)

With the debt-ceiling fight behind him, President Obama is promising to turn his focus back to creating jobs. Obama wants to give the economy a boost by extending the payroll tax suspension for workers and benefits for the unemployed, and investing in more infrastructure projects. But with Republicans insisting that stimulus spending has failed, and that the country's focus should be on cutting gaping budget deficits, are the president's efforts to ease unemployment doomed?

Obama is out of options: At this point, the president's job-creation prospects are "worse than slim," says Derek Thompson at The Atlantic. "The White House can't push more spending through the House of Representatives. It can't cut taxes without widening the deficit." And extending the payroll tax is "just a continuation of current policy," so it will merely help keep unemployment from getting worse. His promises to create more jobs are, sadly, empty.

"The White House: Always pivoting, pivoting, pivoting toward jobs"

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Obama could do something, but he won't: Obama's "stimulus did not stimulate the economy," says Ashe Schow at Heritage Action for America. If the president really wants to create jobs, he should stop scaring employers by threatening them with new taxes. Instead, he should "lower tax rates to a more competitive level" and reduce regulations on businesses so they'll invest "and actually create jobs again."

"President Obama 'pivots' to jobs"

Actually, Republicans are the ones stymying job creation: "We can pivot to talking about jobs," says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. But "the only tools we have available that have any credible hope of moving the needle is fiscal policy, i.e., spending," and Republicans are determined to use their "de facto veto" in Congress to block any government spending measures that Obama proposes. So in reality, there's simply no hope that we can "do anything on the jobs front that has any prospect of passage in the Congress until 2013 at the earliest," when the 113th Congress is sworn in.

"They say 'jobs, jobs' but there are no jobs"

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