Jobs are the top priority. Republicans say it. Democrats say it. And most interestingly, President Obama says it.
From a policy perspective, this should mean that economic growth is the preeminent policy objective, trumping competing objectives. What, then, explains the recent performance of President Obama?
On Tuesday, he traveled to Osawatomie, Kansas to channel his inner Teddy Roosevelt. But instead of expressing TR’s faith in competitive markets and economic freedom, Obama unleashed an anti-success screed the must give pause to any entrepreneur tempted to expand, anycorporation sitting with cash on its balance sheets, or any bank tempted to make a loan. Why attack that which you need most?
Similarly, the president has steadfastly opposed moving ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline, a lock-solid job-creator that would also improve economic relations with the largest trading partner of the United States. Feigning a concern over unknown environmental implications — there is simply nothing to be learned over the next year — he has threatened to veto any legislative attempt to move ahead, even if it is paired with his proposed payroll tax cut.
He’s a one-man circular firing squad.
Fortunately, Speaker John Boehner has kept his eye on the jobs objective and will attempt to move through the Congress a bill that includes Keystone XL. Perhaps this will be the moment that finally reveals the president’s real motivation. Will he pursue the pro-growth objectives that presumably coincide with his need to have a stronger economy to get reelected? Or has he given up on the recovery and decided that the route to election is to divide America, pander to progressives, and relegate overall well-being to the back seat?