President Obama, in North Carolina today, took what appears to be his first direct shot at the economic plan the Senate GOP released last week. With Occupy Wall Street growing by the day, Obama revealed just how central the GOP drive to roll back Wall Street reform will be to his emerging argument that Republicans are the party of Wall Street enablers.He said:
Let’s take a look at what the Republican American Jobs Act looks like. Turns out the Republican plan boils downt o a few basic ideas. They want to gut regulations. They want to let Wall Street doing whatever it wants. They want to drill more. And they want to repeal health care reform. That’s their jobs plan.
Now let’s do a little comparison here. The Republican plan says that what’s standing between us and full employment are laws that keep companies from polluting as much as they want. Our plan puts teachers, construction workers, firefighers and police officers back on the job. Thei plan says the big problem we have is that we helped to get 30 million Americans health insurance. They figure we should throw those folks off the health insurance rolls — somehow that’s going to help people find jobs. Our plan says, `We’re better off if every small business and worker in America gets a tax cut.’ Their plan says, “We should go back to the good old days before the financial crisis, when Wall street was writing its own rules.” They want to roll back all the reforms that we put in place...
Remember those independent economists who said, our plan will create jobs, maybe as many as two millin jobs [and] grow the economy by as much as two percent? One of the same economists took a look at our plan took a look at the Republican plan. And they said, well, this won’t do much to help the economy in the short term. It coud actually cost us jobs. We could actually lose jobs with their plan. So I’ll let you decide: Which plan is the real American Jobs Act?
First off, Obama’s reference to an independent economist’s assessment of the GOP jobs plan seems to be a reference to my interview on Friday with a top Moody’s analyst, who concluded that the plan wouldn’t create jobs in the short term, and said it could even hurt the economy.
Second, it's worth noting that Obama is hoping to use the Senate Republicans’ release of a plan against them. The GOP released a plan in order to blunt Obama’s criticism of Republicans for refusing to act on the economy; he’s hoping to use the contents of the actual plan itself to argue that they don’t have an actual plan to create jobs.
Third, note the direct and frequent reference to the GOP desire to repeal Wall Street reforms that were put in place after the worst financial crisis in decades. Though Obama didn’t directly align himself with Occupy Wall Street today, this confirms — again — that Obama and Dems are doubling down on their strategy of leveraging anger at Wall Street to shift blame to the GOP on the economy and to build public pressure on Republicans to pass parts of Obama’s jobs agenda. Indeed, Senate Dems announced today that they would be introducing the first piece of Obama’s jobs plan for an individual vote: A measure to help states and local governments avert teacher and first responder layoffs. So clearly you’re about to see the campaign enter a new phase, in which public pressure from Obama on Republicans to pass his agenda will be accompanied by Senate Dem measures to hold votes on individual pieces of it.
By the way: Multiple news orgs reported extensively on the Senate GOP’s jobs plan without soliciting the views of private economists on whether it will do what Republicans say it will do — create growth and jobs. So, a question: Shouldn’t the view of economists on this rather important question — whether Republicans are making a legitimate contribution to the debate about what to do about the short term economic crisis — be part of the discussion here?