Obama’s Jobs Speech

“Did he announce a 100% tax on products made outside the US, abrogation of NAFTA and CAFTA, moratorium on all immigration until unemployment drops to 4%, closing foreign military bases and cutting aid to Israel, Egypt and Pakistan? Did he say we were through with our foreign military adventures and was calling our troops back from Afghanistan and Iraq?

“Otherwise, he’s just a time-server.”

I didn’t listen as President Obama was giving his State of the Union address earlier this year.  But I did write the above lines during his speech on a live comment blog.

It was then already two years into the presidency, with very little of Bush’s blundering mended.  On the employment scene his record was singularly dismal, with alternating chest thumping and breastbeating over fractional moves down or up in the monthly jobless numbers. Six months later,  Mr. Obama is about to give another speech, this one about jobs. That he didn’t think to give a speech on jobs every month since he took over is its own commentary on his lassitude.

My questions above remain unchanged as applicable to his speech today as they did to the State of the Union address. Unfortunately, so is Obama’s thinking. If reports are right, he is going to propose a $300 billion infusion made up of tax cuts and investments as a means of shoring up employment.  If the $150 billion stimulus package of George W. Bush in early 2008, plus the $700 billion stimulus of Barack Obama did not do the job, why would this latter-day Goldilocks proposal do the trick?

When the Bush stimulus was being discussed, I suggested that it would save  a lot of trouble to all concerned if the money were directly shipped to China.  Keynesian formulas worked when the artificial inflation of demand generated a cycle of production resulting in job creation.  In current day America the situation is entirely different.  When everything you buy is made abrad, the ‘demand’ generated is actually a demand for foreign goods, resulting in the sustenance or creation of jobs overseas, not locally.  Infusing money into the system in its present condition is like pouring a fresh bucket full of water into a sieve hoping that this time somehow it will remain there.

A sizable tax on foreign made goods is the obvious first step towards plugging this leak.  The fear that such a step would saddle an already beleaguered populace with a huge and immediate price increase is justified.  The way around this is to announce a one-year grace period after which such a tax would take effect, allowing manufacturing to be phased back into the United States.

If the jobs crisis and the current recession are truly the most serious in a half-century, then it makes no sense to be offering jobs in America to people from other countries.   As such, Obama should impose a moratorium on all immigration until the unemployment rate falls below a certain level.

Similarly, faced with trillions of dollars in debt and deficit, it makes no sense to be handing out foreign aid. Particularly egregious is military aid and the maintenance of military bases in hundreds of locations across the globe.

NAFTA and CAFTA have proven every criticism that was leveled against free trade agreements.  Ross Perot’s ‘giant sucking sound of jobs leaving the United States’ seems more prescient by the hour.  Mr. Obama campaigned making noises about renegotiating NAFTA and CAFTA.  The time has come to scrap them.  All this talk of renegotiation to impose safety and environmental standards on factories and other countries is pure pap; when we are unable to do so even within the United States.

If Obama has the boldness to say these things, he will touch within the heartland a chord  that is yearning to be struck.  I have never thought that Obama is a believer in anything but his own advancement.  In this case, the country’s good and his own political future call for the same things.  I hope he will surprise long-standing critics like me in his speech tonight.

Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  He can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes