This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS' MoneyWatch.com.
Tonight's State of the Union could be a sea-change for President Obama - the events (and polls) of the past couple of weeks point to a truth that many of us knew a year ago: the economy (and jobs) must be the number one priority of the Administration.
I remember getting the sinking feeling about the blizzard of issues that the new President was attempting to confront last January. I thought that mere mortals on the ground would be consumed by the daunting task of fighting two wars and an intense recession, let alone all of the other policies that were being pursued.
My political friends told me that I just didn't understand - there was only a small window during which President Obama had to jam through as much as possible. Um, OK but I operated a teeny-tiny company that always ran into problems when we tried to do too much. I guess that the folks in Washington know better.
With so much on his plate, the President delegated the $787 billion stimulus plan to legislators, who have zero ability when it comes to economics and therefore crafted a horrible and wasteful plan that didn't address the key issue of jobs sooner than later. Remember, these were the geniuses who thought it was good idea for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy crappy loans.
We hear that the President is going to use the SOTU to introduce relief for middle class families. The initiatives include: expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit; Limiting student loan payments; Creating an automatic system for retirement; and help for those caring for elderly relatives. Nice list, but I don't see anything about job creation.
Maybe President Obama will surprise us with something else - if so, we'll welcome any ideas. Until then, here's a a bunch of economists' report card for President Obama's first year.
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