Last month, President Obama and VP Joe Biden announced the launch of what the White House dubbed 'Recovery Summer' in which they claim the Stimulus and other Administration policies- without any hint of irony- were creating jobs.
Fresh off his rambling dud of an address from the Oval Office last month that even partisan hacks like Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews couldn't defend, Obama and White House officials have decided to hit the road to promote 'Recovery Summer'. That is when they're not taking a much needed vacation or killing off what's left of the Gulf Coast economy.
The President himself has been visiting places like a new Compact Power battery plant under construction in Holland, Michigan earlier this month. Compact is a subsidiary of LG Corp [NYSE: LPL], and the South Korean based company had received more than US$150 million in Stimulus funds to open up the Michigan plant. Many of the batteries will reportedly be used for GM's Chevy Volt electric vehicle. Obama's Michigan visit came a week after touring an electric truck factory in Kansas City, Mo.
However, the President's exhortations to the Senate to pass an unemployment benefits extension this week undercut the happy talk that had been taking place since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, i.e. 'the Stimulus') passed last spring.
While Obama and other Administration officials have been speechifying across the country to promote the Stimulus, the Senate voted by a 59-39 margin to extend unemployment benefits into November.
This raises a few questions, however. First of all, if this nation is in a 'recovery' and the Stimulus worked, then why the urgency to extend unemployment benefits? Having the bill lapse in November is also suspect, since it's highly unlikely there will be any significant improvement in the economic outlook between now and then. It seems as though the Democrat majority in both houses are trying to artificially create an issue right before the November mid-term elections instead of attempting to improve the economy.
Republicans in both houses have proposed that funds for the unemployment extensions be offset with budget cuts from elsewhere or paid with unspent Stimulus money instead of being added to the Federal Budget deficit.
The jobless benefits extension is expected to move quickly through the House of Representatives (whose lamprey-like Speaker apparently thinks that unemployment checks and Stimulus are one and the same) before being signed by President Obama, who will no doubt be speechifying some more to try and convince Americans that his stimulus plan really is working.
He would be only partially correct, though. Shortly after the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill, the Securities & Exchanges Commission announced that they would need to hire at least 800 additional workers to enforce the bill's new mandates.
So far under the Obama Administration, government has been the only growth industry.