The Chattanooga Times Free Press doesn’t want any part of President Obama’s latest jobs speech. “Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests,” the paper’s editorial board warned this morning prior to the president’s speech at a local Amazon.com warehouse this afternoon.
The editors blasted the president’s job plan as being nothing more than “a ridiculous government spending spree” coupled with a “punitive tax increase on job creators.” Even “regular folks with a basic understanding of math,” not just top economists, understand that these are “the most damaging policies imaginable” for the country at this point in time, they wrote.
While local residents may not be excited to see Obama, the paper tells the president that ultimately “it’s probably good that you’re here” because “it will give you an opportunity to see the failure of your most comprehensive jobs plan to date, the disastrous stimulus scheme, up close and personal,” in particular the wasteful electric/Internet/cable Smart Grid funded by the president’s 2009 stimulus. The Free Press editors detail that the grid, which they playfully call the “Gig to Nowhere,” will ultimately cost taxpayers a half-billion dollars — which is nearly five times more than originally thought — with little improvement in the quality of service, if not potentially worse. Along with driving up costs, the project has hampered technological innovation in Chattanooga, instead of fostering it as it was intended to do, they write.
Despite the Free Press’s protests, President Obama will be making his latest jobs proposal in the city, but the newspaper could do without it. “So excuse us, Mr. President, for our lack of enthusiasm for your new jobs program. Here in Chattanooga we’re still reeling from your old one,” the newspaper concluded.