Does it matter what the president does? Does it matter other than perhaps to declare a moratorium on changing anything?
We've had some classic examples in this one-two punch of "the jobs plan" / "how to pay for the jobs plan" that shows me, increasingly, it doesn't matter.
Here's why. If you look at Obama's plan through a corroded prism, but one that has served you well, it's about giving money to state and local governments to keep paying highly unionized people on their payroll. It is also about keeping people from looking for work who would rather not take lower-paying jobs than they used to have -- remember, corrupted prism.
It is about payroll tax breaks for start-up companies that don't even bother to care about this minuscule nonstarter, something that truly doesn't influence behavior of those who create small businesses. Heck, they expect to lose money when they start them, not worry about payroll tax exemptions. It is about giving people who work a couple of percentage points more on their wages perhaps so they can shop at Target and not Dollar General
In return, the president wants to make it so municipalities and states can't raise as much money as they like to pay for needed infrastructure that hires people because the muni bond deduction is smaller than it was, so there is less demand for them.
It is about taking away the job creation of the one industry that is truly producing jobs, the oil and gas business. You take away the favorable drilling depreciation, you take away a principal reason that we are willing to drill so many wells that have a tremendous wealth ripple effect, as we learned from Halliburton (HAL) in my recent trip to the Bakken.
All in all, that makes the jobs plan a net negative. Plus, it is a tremendous waste of time because the House will not help pass it.
So, if the president had done nothing, it would be better. But to do nothing is to risk losing the election by saying that you didn't fight the coming recession hard enough. To do nothing is to cede the ball to the GOP, who will say he did nothing.
If someone actually knew business in this administration, the plan would put all the money behind the winning team, not the losing team, helping people move to where the jobs are -- which is in the oil and gas industry. But then you would be perceived as helping a cohort that "polls badly," and you would be helping a non-green fuel when ideologically you are committed to green.
So we have this worse-than-nothing game plan: tax breaks that have to be paid for the wrong way that do not influence hiring behavior.
What a mess.
Memo to the president: Stay away from us, we will solve it. Without your help.
I think that's what the polls that show he doesn't fare well with the economy are really saying.
They are right.