Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is the White House Lowering Expectations for the Jobs Speech After Significantly Raising Them?

The White House really seems confused with regards to the expectations they are trying to set for Obama's jobs speech.  On the one hand, they requested a Joint Session of Congress which would indicate a really big plan that not only requires national prime time coverage, but all of Congress in attendance as well.  Also, Obama said this just this past Tuesday:

There is no doubt that we can take steps that would mean the economy was growing a percent or a percentage and a half faster. That could mean half a million to a million additional jobs.

Now it appears that the White House is doing some serious backpedaling.  Check out White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's response to a question about the above quote:

Q Two questions on the speech. The President said yesterday in a radio interview that the government could take steps that could spur growth by up to 1.5 percentage point and add a million new jobs. Is that an indication of the scale of the proposals he's going to lay out?

MR. CARNEY: No, I think if you look at the full quotation, the full context of that comment by the President, he was speaking generally about economic models -- economic analysis and models that say every one -- roughly -- I'm not an economist -- but every 1 percent of growth equals -- generally equals T-K number of jobs, this many million jobs or 100,000 jobs. So that was not a reference to his proposal. I'll leave the details and the projections of added growth and job creation to the speech itself and to the analysis afterwards. That was more a reference to general economic analysis says if you take measures to increase economic growth by this percentage, it will result in this many jobs.

Yeah right he was talking about the relationship between economic growth and job creation.  Seems to me the White House got worried that people were expecting a plan that would actually create up to a million new jobs.  Judging by the plans that have been leaked to the media, there seems little chance of them coming even close to that.  Considering even the nearly trillion dollar stimulus may have created less than a million jobs, they are probably right in trying to lower expectations just a bit after the President's comments.

Today, the White House lowered expectations even more.  Check out this exchange:

QUESTION: If Congress were to pass the package that the President's going to announce, unemployment would be under 9%?

JAY CARNEY: Based on, when you're talking about economic predictions, yes. Economic analysts, economists will be able to look at this series of proposals and say that 'based on history, based on what we know, based on their collective expertise, that it would add to economic growth and cause an increase to job creation.

Notice all the qualifiers in Carney's response?  Also, remember that the official unemployment rate is currently 9.1%?  So the White House can't even promise a reduction in the unemployment rate of over 0.1% without qualifiers?  I think I'll watch the Packers-Saints game because even the White House doesn't seem too confident in their plan.

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