Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Obama's speech: What about my pothole, Mr. President?

September 9, 2011 |  7:00 am

President Obama economy speech
Sorry, Barack, you lost me at "Mr. Speaker."

President Obama laid out his plan to spur America's economy Thursday night. (At least, I'm pretty sure he did. Me? Well, it was Packers-Saints from Lambeau, and ... )

I know the drill by now anyway: Looks great in a suit. Speaks like Cicero (look it up). Has the same sort of wary look Daniel must have had in the lions' den.

But mostly, it's the lack of specifics, isn't it, America?

I mean, I guess he tries. Take this part of the speech:  

Pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or raise workers' wages. Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that's an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.

Right. Like that helps me any.

What I wanted to hear were specifics. Such as:

Pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, Paul Whitefield won't have to worry about being laid off. Paul Whitefield will be assured of keeping his job, his salary and his benefits. Paul Whitefield also can be certain that he'll be able to send his kids to college. And he can go out and buy his wife that new mattress, though maybe not that really expensive Tempur-Pedic model.

OK, it would also be nice to know that my kids will have jobs someday, and clean air and water, and that they won't have to die in some foreign land fighting terrorists.

But this was a speech on the economy. I'm not unreasonable. He can talk about the rest some other time.

Obama also said this:

There's a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that's on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating.

What? Not one single word about the pothole on the onramp to the eastbound 210 Freeway near Pasadena? Nor how crowded the bike/walking lane around the Rose Bowl has become? Not to mention the fact that my big pine tree out front is shedding needles all over the yard and it's too darn hot to clean up the mess -- and what the heck have you done lately, Mr. President, about global warming?

Of course, he tried for a big finish:

These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let's meet the moment. Let's get to work, and let's show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth.

Great. "Meet the moment." "Get to work."  Like I don't have enough to do already: "You mean the garage still isn't cleaned out? And when are you going to wash the car?  And what about that peeling paint on the front of the house?  It's embarrassing!"

No, Mr. President, enough rhetoric. Specifics, specifics, specifics!

For guidance, check out this statesmanlike exchange on job creation between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Library & Museum:

"Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt," Perry jabbed back, referring to former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael S. Dukakis.

"Well, as a matter of fact," Romney replied, "George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor."

There was lots of other specific leadership stuff from them, like when Perry said Social Security is a Ponzi scheme (Aren't those illegal? Is it too late to impeach every president since Franklin Roosevelt?) and how he's like Galileo.

So c'mon, Mr. President. These guys want your job. Americans want jobs too.

And I want that pothole fixed!


Editorial: Is it a jobs generator?

GOP reaction is lukewarm -- it's a start 

Obama jobs plan spurs cautious hope among small businesses  

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Joe Biden, left, and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) listen. Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Getty Images

Comments ()