On Wednesday, President Obama travelled to Cleveland to deliver what his aides described as a “major speech on the economy” but in reality was more like a campaign speech. He did propose to continue tax cuts enacted under the Bush Administration for households making less than $250,000 for couples ($200,00 for individuals) which he stated would help the economy in the long run, however he offered no short term path for immediate job creation nor did the words “unemployment insurance” or “Tier 5” ever pass his lips. To many it is becoming clear that the President has choose not to make extensions of unemployment extensions due to expire on November 30 of the addition of a Tier 5 a major focus of his effort to jump start an economy that has all but stalled in the last four months, with unemployment rising, as well as personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures.
The President did use the speech, delivered before what reporters on the scene called “a carefully screened crowd” of about 3,000 “Democratic faithful” to rail against the Republicans, particularly House Minority Leader John Boehner who, if the Republicans take control of the House in the November 2 midterms will likely become Speaker of the House. The President hammered home what is becoming the apparent Democratic “talking point” for the midterms; that the economy failed under the Republicans and the Republicans have offered no meaningful alternative to the legislative proposals that he has offered during the 21 months of his Presidency. He mentioned Mr. Boehner no less than seven times in his 20-minute speech, returning again and again to the theme that, in his opinion, it would be a mistake for voters to return Congress to Republican control, emphasizing his position that it was under a Republican President and a Republican Congress that the Recession occurred.
The pieces of Mr. Obama’s new agenda for the economy – expanding and making permanent a credit fore research and development and allowing businesses to write off the full value of new equipment purchases in 2011 seem to be a calculated maneuver to gain business support so that Republicans will have to feel that have to support it in Congress. In fact some observers are calling the proposal a “set up” to frame the debate in such a way that he can accuser Republicans who oppose it simply because he proposed it.
Congressman Boehner in an appearance on “Good Morning America” on ABC on Wednesday morning already was criticizing the President’s proposals and again calling for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts which would benefit 2% of America’s wealthiest families. Mr. Boehner said that this would create certainty and help the economy more then the proposals offered by President Obama.
Millions of Americans are waiting for some word of Presidential support for both renewal of unemployment extensions and a Tier 5. This does not seem to be in the cards yet – at least before the midterm elections on November