Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 | 2 a.m.
President Barack Obama gave an inspiring speech to Congress on his vision for jobs and recovery. He is taking the case to the American people and, although campaigning for re-election at the same time, selling his plan. Unlike Congress, a hostile audience, Americans will be agreeable to what they hear. Republicans should be agreeable to what Americans think and feel, too.
The president’s proposal is moderate; $500 billion in the scheme of things, if it jump-starts the stagnant U.S. economy — and it may to some degree — is a government pittance. If it works in the next 14 months, the president can request another dose. But the odds are slim. Why? Look at the money spent over the past three years. Almost a trillion in stimulus and another $1.5 trillion in QE1 and QE2 thanks to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Results? None.
The United States is worse off than it was at the end of George W. Bush’s term, despite these massive infusions of money.
The Congress (read Republicans) owes the president support on this, despite any misgivings. It’s his third swing at bat or, to use another sports analogy, it’s third down and long. If it assuages the economic tsunami, it may even cement Obama’s re-election. If not, it still does not guarantee Obama losing a second term. But it surely makes it less likely than now, if that’s possible.