Stocks, Republicans Unmoved by Obama’s Economic Plans

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Behind the pantomime.

AS MY colleague wrote yesterday, the fact that there is virtually no chance of any of the priorities outlined in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address becoming law during his administration renders the entire affair a sort of pantomime. WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama asked Congress on Tuesday to give him the powers to fully negotiate huge transpacific and transatlantic free-trade agreements, arguing it will boost the economy and help American workers.The speech, in which President Obama laid out an agenda topped by free community college and tax breaks for parents and the middle class, was a consummate display of political bravado. As predicted, Republican responses to the speech ranged from dismissal to anger—or rather, mock anger; since it has always been clear that Republicans would reject anything Mr Obama were to offer up, their condemnations of his failure to reach out were pantomime too. For many observers this was the president at his most combative and radical yet, clear, forceful, and partisan . “Tonight, we turn the page,” he told the nation, refering both to the economic upturn – the seventh year of his presidency, but the first in which the economy is no longer in crisis, with job growth, fuel prices down, and falling deficits – and to the theme that he is determined will become central to US politics, economic fairness, inequality.

Lynn Jenkins (R., Kan.) is expected to unveil Thursday the Republican counterpart to President Barack Obama’s proposal on 529 college-saving accounts. But there’s a big difference between Obama and Oregon Democrats: Obama’s proposals will be blocked by a Republican Congress, while the Oregon Democratic Party controls both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

Mike Lee, a Republican senator from Utah, inadvertently captured the circular logic of the situation: “For him, it’s all 2016 partisan politics now, and Republicans shouldn’t waste time debating the merits of the president’s political talking points.” Of course, if Republicans are unwilling to debate the merits of Mr Obama’s proposals, one can hardly expect him to deliver anything other than political talking points. The Pacific deal has been crafted without China, the world’s most powerful exporter which has countered with its own proposal for a common trade region in east and Southeast Asia.

Obama issued a broad call for “a better politics” that began with common principles, and said his agenda isn’t political, pointing out “I have no more campaigns to run.” That drew rousing applause from the GOP side of the aisle, which had sat on its hands as Mr. And yet, paradoxically it would seem, at the point in his presidency when he has least power, when his ability to achieve his vision has been most atrophied.

The Atlantic deal is being negotiated with the European Union, and progress has slowed due to resistance on both sides to measures seen as weakening consumer protections and exposing local businesses to too much competition. Democrats and Republicans—including the White House and those in Congress and the emerging 2016 presidential field—have begun to coalesce around the idea that a lagging middle class is the major blemish on a recovery so far defined by a rising stock market, a falling unemployment rate and overall economic growth.

While there are differences between, and even within, the parties over policy prescriptions, there is no dispute over what aspect of the economy will take focus. After doing a spectacular job of showing the nation how not to design a health care website, the state desperately needs to model competence as it addresses the issues at the forefront of 2015 political policy debates. After his speech, Republican Senator Joni Ernst applauded Obama’s proposal for the trade deals, though without directly endorsing fast-track authority. “Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. It was almost as if the Republicans’ crushing victory in last November’s midterm elections – a sharp repudiation of Obama and the Democrats – never happened. On Tuesday Obama seemed to be saying “this is what I would do if you so-and-sos would let me, but I know you won’t.” This time it was less about achieving results than about setting the agenda for public debate between now and the next election.

But the reality of Obama’s final two years in office sat squarely before him in the Capitol Tuesday night: the largest Republican majority in Congress in decades. Earlier on Tuesday a group of Democratic legislators gathered to demonstrate that they would vote against granting the president any special powers to negotiate the treaties. “I will oppose the administration because of the devastating impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have on jobs and wages in this country. Indeed, part of his purpose almost certainly involved trying to tie the hands of Hillary Clinton, committing her to make the debate on the squeezed middle class, the profligate wealthy, and inequality central to her presidential bid, a theme the Democratic Party will embrace wholeheartedly, and she, less so. But for progressives watching the president’s speech on Tuesday, there was also a longing for what we haven’t been able to accomplish in the Obama era.

The verdict is clear.” Obama also tucked a bit of news in an otherwise heavily telegraphed speech: He called on Congress to authorize the use of force against the Islamic State, after months of resisting such a request. Obama has also proposed mandatory paid sick leave and time off for parents with a new child. “I know there are Republicans who disagree with my approach,” Mr.

Though there have been many academic studies on minimum wage changes, most focused on specific locations or industries, limiting their value as macroeconomic models. So far this year, Obama has stiffed the GOP agenda.”) Those of us sick of all this talk of empathetic nods and inches given or stiffed would prefer to find some way to talk about the content of governance.

Obama’s threat may have been the broadest, with one of his threats covering everything from immigration to tweaking Obamacare to revamping the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms. Obama said during an event at Boise State University. “They should put forward some alternative proposals.” While congressional Republicans have said Mr. It’s true that campaigning and governing are wholly different exercises, but I don’t believe the president is good at one at the expense of the other. With his job approval ratings ticking upward toward 50 percent – and reaching that benchmark in some polls – perhaps Obama can get away with that little poke in the GOP’s eye.

Obama’s tax-raising proposals are non-starters, GOP leaders have said they are open to overhauling the tax code as long as it doesn’t raise net taxes. Plus, the minimum-wage increase is being considered at the same time as other mandates, from sick leave to child care that would drive up businesses’ costs.

He promised vetos of Republican attempts to roll back his achievements or block his executive action initiatives – on ”Obamacare”, Wall Street regulation, climate change, relaxation of immigration controls, and a possible nuclear deal with Iran. If legislators passed a $15 minimum wage and all the other proposals under consideration, it’s hard to imagine businesses absorbing the increased costs without layoffs.

Practically speaking, both sides are right where they were before the address – suiting up for combat on issues where they disagree, and prepared to work together in the few areas where they agree, such as international trade and prison sentencing reform. “Finding common ground is what the American people sent us here to do, but you wouldn’t know it from the president’s speech tonight,” Speaker Boehner said in a statement. “While veto threats and unserious proposals may make for good political theater, they will not distract this new American Congress from our focus on the people’s priorities.” The official Republican response to the address, delivered by the newly installed Sen. But one can look at its political reception to gauge whether this is an issue that effectively advances the Democrats’ attempts to force Republicans to take unpopular stances.

Joni Ernst (R) of Iowa, also struck a populist note as she described her humble roots and her party’s desire to help “hardworking families.” But it was both Obama’s and Senator Ernst’s treatment of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that perhaps best telegraphed the politics of the next two years: Obama didn’t even dignify the proposed project – which would deliver Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico and which environmentalists oppose – by using its name. Since the only hope of getting significant legislation passed in America now seems to be winning an electoral trifecta and gaining control over the presidency and both houses of Congress, the first key question to ask about any proposed legislation is whether it furthers that goal for the party that proposed it. Because the details of the proposal will be unrecognisably altered by the time it makes it into whatever legislation is adopted three years down the line (provided the side proposing it wins that trifecta), it is a good idea not to get too wrapped up in specifics.

Martha Roby (R., Ala.) was prepared to introduce a bill on Thursday that would allow private-sector workers the option of using overtime as paid time off, rather than extra pay. Reducing the cost of community college: The lowest-income students already receive Pell Grants, which are sufficient to cover most community college expense. For example, is the Earned Income Tax Credit still the best way to address inequality, or does it fail to reach the poorest because they are unemployed?

Obama’s proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy. “What really happened is a bunch of the recovery over the last several years has gone to such a small segment of the population,” Mr. The key, though, is to look at policy proposals not in isolation, but as moves in a long game that gradually determine the shape of policy proposals on each side. It would require students to shoulder some of the cost – $50 per course – and the additional aid would not kick in until other state and federal funds were exhausted. Any new funding should be directed first at programs that produce graduates who are in demand in the workforce and should require recipients to meet academic benchmarks. Requiring employers to provide paid sick leave: Of all the proposals Obama mentioned Tuesday, this one might be the most likely to become law in Oregon.

If nothing else, that would provide consistency for employers, who currently face a patchwork of rules since some cities – Portland and Eugene – already have mandated sick leave. A no-exceptions-allowed sick-leave requirement could force some three-or-four employee operations to shut down or reduce hours if one or two workers called in sick. But it’s a pantomime of actions and attitudes that are real, or may eventually become real if one side amasses the power to push legislation through America’s hopelessly creaky, antiquated, broke-down political system. In that case there probably isn’t much point paying attention to American democratic politics at all, and I recommend switching to a good hockey match.

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