On Jobs Tour In Texas, Obama Offers Little New Hope For Jobs Progress In Washington

Obama’s swing through the Texas was notable for what it left out—any plan for putting his proposals into law.

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Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the economy and job creation after touring Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, on May 9, 2013.

President Barack Obama’s campaign-style, jobs-focused swing through the Texas technology core on Thursday was notable mainly for what it left out—any plan for putting his proposals into law.

In less than six hours on the ground in the Austin area, Obama spoke with a high school robotics team, then the full high school. He lunched with a roundtable of residents over barbecue, and followed that with a three-part tour and listening session at Capital Factory, a downtown Austin tech start-up incubator and co-working space. He took a factory tour of a company that makes industrial equipment for the technology sector, and delivered a speech to employees at the plant.

“I’ve sent Congress proposals on a wide range of ideas,” Obama told the students at Manor New Technology High School. “But some of them have been blocked in Congress for, frankly, political reasons. I’m going to keep on trying.”

Ostensibly Obama flew to a Democratic enclave in the deep-red state to pitch his previously announced plan for 15 nationwide manufacturing innovation institutes and to highlight a new open-data initiative to make government releases “machine-readable.” But his remarks touched on everything from universal pre-kindergarten to more resources for manufacturing. He was mostly silent on the Washington stalemate he left behind before boarding Air Force One. The cable networks largely ignored the two speeches, which focused on a litany of previously announced proposals.

There is no new active jobs program in Washington. And the evidence is clear that since the last election the actions of the U.S. Congress have on net hurt job creation in the short term. The specter of sequestration likely slowed growth at the start of the year, as did the $85 billion in spending cuts that is expected to shave about a half point of gross domestic product growth this year. The tax increases that started 2013 took spending money out of the economy, reducing growth as well. Obama has some programs in the works—an infrastructure bank and efforts to speed refinances among them—but there has been no visible movement on the $1 billion he needs from Congress for his innovation centers, nor the dozens of other economic proposals he’s pitched and re-pitched. So he gives speeches.

“Every once in a while I’m going to need your help to lean on your elected representatives and say, hey, let’s do something about this,” he told the students.

White House officials said the visit wasn’t tied to any specific legislative push beyond the two executive actions taken Thursday, but they admitted that Obama was enjoying his time among the science fair projects and industrial machines. The fist-bumps he gave high school students, the tour of the company that helped make the machines that made the iPad and the look at the technology behind his Situation Room weather map all seemed to put a spring in the presidential step. He gushed about a custom-designed car for wheelchair users, and a cheaper 3-D camera to speed 3-D printing.

Capping off a day of chatting and touring with educators and innovators, Obama appeared reinvigorated, even if his agenda was not. Idle curiosity? Campaign withdrawal? Or just a chance to get away from Washington? Meeting with investors at Capital Factory, Obama lamented the mood in Washington, and praised work that’s happening on the ground here and around the country.

“One of the reasons to do this trip … If you watch the news, if you are based in Washington, sometimes you just sense doom and gloom,” Obama said, contrasting that to the legions who are “out there hustling every single day.” He heralded the job creators and the inventors — falling behind schedule taking questions from angel investors and boosting the engineers.

Just weeks ago Obama angrily complained about lawmakers rejecting his background check proposals, calling it a “pretty shameful day for Washington.” Earlier this week he decried cynicism in a commencement address at The Ohio State University, saying of the nation’s capital: “let me put this charitably: I think it’s fair to say our democracy isn’t working as well as we know it can.”

Frustrated, with his agenda stonewalled in Washington, the President was able Thursday to get away. And outside of the U.S. Capital he was able to find clear signs of hope.

90 comments
Kizar_Sozay
Kizar_Sozay

gosh, whatever happened to the Jobs Task Force Obama formed up?  No sooner did it meet, declare the agenda was not actually about jobs, then it withered and died, leaving Jeff Immelt as Obama's right hand on jobs.  

Every time we see Obama point his finger and wag at us he tells us he is 'focused like a laser beam' or 'will not rest'.  He pronounces his intentions and then calls on someone else, who will later be thrown under the bus, for the failure to generate jobs.

LanceSjogren
LanceSjogren

One thing I'd like to ask Obama is if there aren't going to be a lot of jobs created in the forseeable future then why is does he support the so-called immigration reform in the Senate that would grant 33 million permanent work permits to foreign nationals in the next 10 years and about 20 million more each decade after that?  Where are these tens of millions of jobs going to come from?

JimmyTravis1
JimmyTravis1

OBAMA BREAKS CONTRACT WITH AMERICA. Obama’s incompetence is not the point here although it stands out a mile. The point is that Obama has proven to be a cold hearted political machine, completely devoid of character. The founding fathers knew that our system was designed for a people of high moral standards. They said, “we deserve our nation only if we are a great people”. Obama is completely dishonest. He lies to advantage. He was born in captivity and will eventually face impeachment. HOW STINKY IMMORAL CAN HE GET?

jimtorguson
jimtorguson

For his first four years all Obama seemed to do was: Campaign! Attack! Blame! Divide!

Now, that he is well into his second term, what has changed?

OH! Yeah. It is almost so obvious that you can miss it. He has added: Whine!


AndrewWest1
AndrewWest1

Demand is the only thing that can create jobs.  No President or government has ever created ANY jobs.  Stimulus funds, incentives and bailouts may prevent the loss of jobs - at taxpayer expense, but they don't "create" anything.  At the same time, tax cuts or scaling back regulations do not create any jobs.  Both of these ideas sum up the "magic" of Liberal or Conservative thinking.  Presidents do not create jobs.

To solve our current economic challenges by creating jobs we need to focus on demand - aggregate demand and unmet demand.  Aggregate demand is simply the sum of purchasing power (income) of those employed.  With some 30 million people unemployed or underemployed, aggregate demand is at an all time low.  Political magic won't change that.  The only thing that will is "unmet demand."  Unmet demand can create jobs if businesses can meet that demand.

One example: for decades we've known we need to replace half of our schools in the US because they're substandard.  That is very real demand, but it cannot be met because schools are too expensive.  Delivering state of the art schools for 30% less would make them affordable and meet that demand.  In 10 years that would create nearly 2 million jobs/year.  There are several major instances of unmet demand in the US including clean AFFORDABLE energy, affordable urban living, reliable agriculture production and affordable healthcare.  These areas have unmet demand that can create more than 10 million jobs in the short term.

Our only way out of the current situation is to define the unmet demand and create ways to meet that demand - not with subsidies or tax cuts, but with innovation/invention.  There is no political fix on the horizon (from either party) but perhaps there is a return to American invention.  I suggest solving some of our greatest challenges can create plenty of jobs.

My work is here: http://www.solutioneur.com

drudown
drudown

Reduced to its essence, the GOP inexplicably contends that the State should not enact any Stimulus spending designed to create jobs after the GOP "outsourced" our entire industrial base abroad. Taken to its illogical conclusion, now they want to magically transmute 20,000,000+ foreign nationals into "citizens" without even taking care of returning veterans first, nor ensuring that Social Security and other entitlements are fully funded for its actual citizens. 

CaptBoogerBrains
CaptBoogerBrains

Government spend more money.  Me pick winners.  Riveting stuff, Mr. Pres.

ShamsAci
ShamsAci

Anyone becomes too optimistic in things to do and act upon often is found abruply inclining towards pessimism for his / her personal strange reason known to none, may be even he or she may not know but why it happens like that as an over confident fellow does big blunders that's different issue for discussions.

  - A.R.Shams's Reflection - Press & Online Publications - Creative Living Spirit - Moral Messages for Humanity Worldwide.... 

tomsellier28
tomsellier28

Republicans have to be taken out of power in America for America to move forward.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

Could that title be any dumber? 

The post tells us what President Obama said on his trip and nowhere does he "Offer Little Help For Jobs Progress In Washington," in his remarks. If you want to write about what the President said, then write a title that reflects the content of his speech: "Obama Lauds High-Tech Entrepreneurship in Texas." Or: "Obama Chides Congress To Pass Jobs Legislation."

If you want to title a post about "...Little Help For Jobs Progress In Washington...," it should be a post about Congress and the Republicans.

ScottyCampbell
ScottyCampbell

Our government is answerable to the people who own it. Those people are billionaires. No one else has ANY voice in American government. Period.


Since We The People are unwilling to address this, we should surrender to powerlessness and to the end of republican democracy of the variety our grandparents knew. Indeed, since we have tacitly turned over control of all our institutions to private interests, we should gladly accept a government that props up the stock market for a tiny billionaire's club while driving down wages and benefits and destroying the last vestiges of the middle class our ancestors fought to create.

Let's face it: Virtually every American citizen KNOWS that their government is bought and paid for by private interests - lobbyists, multinational corporations (who need protections in the tax code in order to offshore jobs and investments), private fronts that represent the interests of overseas enemies (this is the fastest growing category, as the strong push against national security infrastructure in Congress demonstrates) and individual (usually quite nutty) billionaires with a strong personal interest in reducing the living standards of Americans.

We know this. ALL of us know this. And we permit it. Many of us actually fight to reduce our own power - aggressively seeking more private money control of our governmental institutions. 

I don't know if this is because we are suicidal or because we are stupid. But I know it's true. And I know - down to my marrow - that no significant number of us will stand up and fight to regain the control of a government once envisioned as "of, by and for the people."


MichaelBerkman
MichaelBerkman

Next he'll come to Texas and say he is behind the natural gas and shale oil boom too....lol

JohnDavidDeatherage
JohnDavidDeatherage

Obama visits Texas (a conservative state) to talk about jobs.  Why didn't he visit a liberal state like California or Illinois to talk about jobs?  Those are the states where unemployment is high.

DanEngland
DanEngland

@JimmyTravis1 That is about the most uniformed post I have ever read on any blog or news site. Your comment JT0 goes way beyond partisanship into hatred. Do you eat all your food iced cold?

LanceSjogren
LanceSjogren


now they want to magically transmute 20,000,000+ foreign nationals into "citizens" without even taking care of returning veterans first, nor ensuring that Social Security and other entitlements are fully funded for its actual citizens. 

That's the DEMOCRATS want to do, along with a handful of treasonous Republicans.


Don't you follow the news?  Have you not heard of The Schumer/Rubio immigration plan?


brtnk
brtnk

@drudown This Administration used closed to a USD trillion dollars in stimulus money, promising the unemployment would be down to 5.6 percent by now.  During the 2012 campaign, the President stated that 12 million new jobs would be created by the US economy without any additional measures.  As measured by his own words, this President is a failure, but just keep attacking and hope that the American people are satisfied that their college educated children will work as security guards and at Starbucks. 

strongmind1951
strongmind1951

@tomsellier28 - let's see..... republicans were out of power back during obama;s first two years in office. And if my memory serves me right, that's when the democrats passed obamacare, a program that will ruin the best health care system in the world, and prevent millions of middle class americans from purchasing affordable health care. 

tom.litton
tom.litton

@tomsellier28 I'd settle for sane republicans.  I understand that not everyone is going to agree with me, but when that disagreement stops any problem from getting solved, then that won't end well for anyone.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@tomsellier28 That's quite partisan of you. Shhhhh...the pathologically non-partisan Beltway hates that particular truth to power above all.

DanEngland
DanEngland

@shepherdwong  Be careful there sir. When you post facts like that you need protection from the exploding heads of Republcans lol. 

lamcnam
lamcnam

There's a more fundamental problem, and that's gerrymandering. It's next to impossible to shift voting patterns without a) significant demographic change or b) redrawing districts to be more socially and politically heterogeneous. Nate Silver nailed it in a 538 blog post this past winter, worth reading.

ScottyCampbell
ScottyCampbell

I really appreciate all the replies to the preceding. I am less than sanguine as regards our breaking the unholy alliance of money and politics that has broken our system. That said, I must admit to some hyperbole in the preceding. The reality is that do believe that we've evidence that voters can still buck the big money. It seems to happen when a candidate is a real, down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness human being - and these exist even among the ranks of D's and R's (though I agree that the two party system seems not to be serving us). A candidate like that can grab an enthusiastic group of supporters and translate that energy into a ground campaign sufficient to overcome even the most aggressive (and dirty) broadcast campaign. Social media can level the playing field, too. 


I like to believe that a candidate that comes from a genuine, common sense place can pole vault over all the focus groups and meme proliferation in the world.


I also believe we would all do well to withdraw from partisan wrangling. Those of us with common sense can tell when the guys on "our side" are gaming and stretching their rhetoric - resorting to logical fallacies or dog whistles. We need to let them know that regardless of how much we like one or many of their policies we will not vote for them (or for either candidate) where the players refuse to play by the rules of common decency.


We should also boycott ALL radio and television advertising - indeed, ALL political advertising. FORCE the candidates to speak directly to us or to one another in a fair debate. No sound bites, no talking points, no scapegoats, no white hats and black hats, no accusations of fascism or communism or any ism.


And, yes, we should not hesitate to support third party candidates, even when the guys on "our side" tell us that we're giving away the election. So be it. Get real with us; get on board with common sense solutions that pay no attention to the labels; or get out of politics and back to practicing tort law and vying for junior partner status:)

Sorry. I'm rambling. I suppose I'm just like everybody else. I'm just tired of all the meaningless posturing. It's like watching a room full of kindergartners trying to get along. No. Scratch that. I've just insulted every kindergartner. They know how to get along, get in line, practice their alphabet, go to lunch or recess or art, etc. It's the adults that are fouling everything up.


And We The People should get a little hot and bothered, renounce all our differences and work toward ONE THING . . .


GETTING MONEY OUT OF POLITICS . . . PERIOD.


Probably won't happen, of course. But a guy can dream:)

tom.litton
tom.litton

@ScottyCampbell What gets me is that it wouldn't be that hard.  All you have to do is not vote for them.  


Yet people convince themselves their favorite candidate is different.  Let me break the news for you.  Any politician with an R or D next to their name are all trapped in a broken system.  The easiest way out is to not vote for people with an R or D next to their names.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@MichaelBerkman Yet again in  light of what you lack of regulation did to the people of West Texas, just perhaps BOOM linked with LOL isn't the best choice.

greyngold
greyngold

@JohnDavidDeatherage Unemployment is high FOR THE UNDEREDUCATED, which those states have alot of, and those people are well-congregated in certain areas. For example, unemployment is much worse in the central valley in CA vs. SF, LA, Orange County, or San Diego. 

Also, Texas is the fluke amongst red states for unemployment. And it is a net taker state. If you are trying to fix the budget deficit, you need to preach the gospel to the TAKER states, which are predominantly red states. California and Illinois, for all their unemployment problems, are still net positives to the federal budget.

ScottyCampbell
ScottyCampbell

@swagger This is becoming true for any sort of infrastructure. That's an ominous sign. And I believe it has a great deal to do with the influence of dark money - all that un-tracked cash, much of it from countries like China, that's driving our destruction from within.

I mean, think about it, what sort of sovereign nation allows its infrastructure to rot? Would any sovereign state, acting in its own interests, make massive cuts to education, scientific research, physical infrastructure, technology, etc, etc, etc?


We are acting against the interests of our national security, and we're doing it consistently - AS A MATTER OF WHAT MASQUERADES AS POLITICAL IDEOLOGY. It is not political ideology. It is not true conservatism, which would never seek to destroy our country from within. No. This feels like an external influence.

Our electrical grid is vulnerable; our roads and rails are insufficient and insecure; and our cuts to education and scientific research are undermining our global competitiveness. NONE of this is in our national interest.

The great irony is that the politicians that are the most fixated on destroying our physical and intellectual infrastructure by way of the attrition of neglect are the ones that lay claim to the greatest patriotism.

Scary times. Time to get the money out of politics. There exists no other solution.

GoOg
GoOg

@swagger Yep suicide bombers are just a bit different than several calls from your Diplomat stating they need help.  Then sitting around and not doing a damn thing about it.  The party of NO?   We have a President that is propping up our economy with 100 billion dollars per month.  That is debt not income but debt.  If you consider a recovery where we continue to put ourselves in insurmountable debt,  it seems to me you are clueless as to what is beneficial to this Country.  

drudown
drudown

@LanceSjogren 

Sorry, it was McCain telling me on my TV screen selling the immigration "reform", the only difference is that he and Rand Paul want to call "amnesty" something other than, well, amnesty. Get real. 

DanEngland
DanEngland

@strongmind1951 @tomsellier28 SM1951, you are so uninformed that it is painful to read your posts. Do you not understand the way the Senate works? There has to be 60 votes to get anything out of the Senate onto Obama's desk to sign. Republicans filibuster EVERYTHING so nothing gets done in congress. Read up on how things work so you stop embarrassing yourself!

drudown
drudown

@LanceSjogren @tomsellier28 

Perhaps you, Lance, would like to take a bow for the GREAT job the GOP has done for the People- I mean, "outsourcing" our industrial base, refusing to regulate "credit default swaps", cutting taxes in record deficits, invading Iraq over nothing....I go on and on.

But glad you are here to "set the record straight" with your conclusory comments. THANK YOU!

jaysthename
jaysthename

@tom.litton

It would be a lot harder than simply not voting for certain candidates. In light of the all-too-true observations ScottyCampbell made, we're essentially talking about a revolution. A full-blown, honest-to-God revolution, since the myriad of problems cannot be repaired from within this political rats nest made of red tape and corporate interests.

greyngold
greyngold

@tom.litton @ScottyCampbell Unforunately you first have to be AWARE of the problem. Which is a threshold that voters simply don't want to bother themselves with. Its a consequence of political apathy and a broken 2-party system. Education and, frankly, intellectual curiosity (which comes from open-mindedness, which many voters simply don't have, both on the right and left) are requirements. 

Voters should have to take a civics test every 10 years. You fail, you don't get to vote. Problem solved.

greyngold
greyngold

@GoOg @swagger Also, its quite clear that the budget deficit doesn't amount to 100bill/month. Let alone ALL of domestic discretionary non-military spending is like 1/3 of that (around $400 billion). So before you talk out of your butt, learn the FACTS. I know those are hard to get into the bubble you choose to live in, but they are out there for the intellectually curious amongst us.

Also, please tell me how suicide bombers are different? They are still attacks on US diplomatic missions due to security failures. And also why we should believe a scorned "whistleblower" from the state department who was demoted for allowing this to happen on his watch (you know, how NORMAL jobs do this kind of thing), instead of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs who said that soldiers WERE dispatched. Even republicans are asking for the release of emails that one of them slipped up and said contained proof that troops were ordered dispatched, but would not have arrived from Italy in time to make a different, considering the timeline of the tragic deaths that happened in Benghazi?

Not to mention that Bush lost 13 people in his diplomatic missions, Obama lost 3. All loss of life is tragic, but have some perspective.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GoOg @swagger Doing nothing about it? What would you have them do? The Diplomat was dying of smoke inhalation minutes into the attack, and our CIA operatives had drove off the attackers and secured the compound.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@GoOg@swaggerIt doesn't take much research to see that spending more in the short term is the correct path to economic recovery.  Why do you think everyone said the sequester would be bad for the economy, even republicans?  How could cutting spending be bad for the economy without increasing spending being good for the economy.  


Now, once the economy recovers we will need to cut spending and reduce the debt to GDP ratio in order to prepare for the next recession.  


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/opinion/krugman-the-story-of-our-time.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

tom.litton
tom.litton

@jaysthename @tom.litton I disagree.  Almost all money is given to republicans or democrats.  Any third party does not have the incentive to continue the process if they all find themselves in office at the same time.  

If you have the people to make a revolution successful then you have the people to defeat the voting booth.  Why resort to violence.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger How exactly did we do that? Now they don't have to waste resources watching Iraq and instead can use Iraq's airspace to transport weapons directly to their Syrian and Hezbollah allies. 

As for Hillary and the special forces, the Ambassador was dying of smoke inhalation withing minutes of the first attack. Are our special forces trained in resurrecting the dead? If they aren't there wasn't much the would be able to dead for the Ambassador.

GoOg
GoOg

@mantisdragon91 @GoOg @swagger Nope Iran has been hell bent on destroying Israel. What has made Iran stronger is its ability to acquire a Nuclear bomb.  It has nothing to do with Iraq's position.  We actually put ourselves in a better position to attack them.  Russian,  Chinese and North Korean help has put them in the position they are now.  Either way we are probably going to have to deal with them.  This has been coming for a long time.  Getting back to Hilary how is it she did not use our special forces from Tripoli to help our Ambassador too?  

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger No fool that war of choice made Iran stronger. You seem to forget that Iran and Iraq had a little war back in the 80's that cost the lives of millions. Saddam was the primary counterweight against the Mullahs of Iran. And now thanks to Bush Iran has more influence in Iraq than we do and is the strongest its been since the days of the Sassanids more than a 1500 years ago.

GoOg
GoOg

@mantisdragon91 @GoOg @swagger Well that war of choice also has put us in a position to possibly deal with Iran.  That is also on the verge of getting a nuke.  So no matter what the situation now we are there and we will be dealing with the Muslims for many years.  

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger We had 2 dozen CIA operatives primarily ex special forces in Benghazi. And no she couldn't have transported them out because traveling at night through a hostile urban environment would have cost more casualties. As for Iraq I have a little news flash for you, our war of choice there has killed more people that the dictator we got rid off.

GoOg
GoOg

@mantisdragon91 @GoOg @swagger She could of transported our People out of there at the least.  Common sense would not have been to put him in a precarious situation in the first place.  Yet another failed attempt at leadership.  Did we have to help Libya?  The People of Iraq really should appreciate we got rid of a dictator that killed 100s of thousands of People.  

greyngold
greyngold

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger HILLARY HAD A CHOICE? Jesus you are dull. Look at how long after the attack started that the people died. And then look at the flight time from Italy to Benghazi, add in the time it takes the soldiers to gear up then get on, off the plane, land it, and get to support the mission. In that time, the people were LONG dead. Get over it. Logic means you loose. 

greyngold
greyngold

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger Really, who failed here? It was obviously a security failure by the diplomatic staff and arguably the department of state that was responsible for this.

It was also a failure by congress who cut the diplomatic security budget, making something like this inevitable. Can we impeach Darrell Issa now?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger Bush didn't have a choice? We had to invade Iraq? He had to ignore the CIA warnings of imminent attacks on the US? Do you even know the chronology of the Benghazi attacks 2 dead in minutes, 2 dead hours later from a mortar round on a security post. So please explain to me what she could have done to prevent a mortar shell from several thousand yards out, since there was absolutely nothing that could have been done to save the first two after the initial attack commenced.

GoOg
GoOg

@mantisdragon91 @GoOg @swagger Mr. Clueless,  In each of the cases that you have given.  Bush did not have a choice.  Key word here choice.  Hilary had a choice to help those People.  She (chose) not to.  Bush never had an opportunity to shoot down those planes or shoot the suicide bombers.  Keep trying to skew it though.  

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GoOg @mantisdragon91 @swagger So anytime people die its because lack of support? In that case the 4000 dead in Iraq and 3000 dead in 9/11 didn't get enough support. GWB failed. So when will we be holding his impeachment trial?

GoOg
GoOg

@mantisdragon91 @GoOg @swagger She obviously did not give them enough support did she?  They are dead and did not have to be.  She was notified many hours before the situation occurred.  You can skew it however you like but she failed.