Obama’s Speech Will Likely Be Political Theater

by Jeff Reeves | September 8, 2011 11:01 am

When is President Obama’s speech tonight about jobs? Obama will speak to Congress Thursday evening at 7 p.m. EST.

What will President Obama’s speech tonight cover? To hear the television and news media speculations, the president will give both chambers of Congress his $300 billion plan to create jobs. Obama should touch on ideas such as building roads and schools, extend unemployment insurance, cut payroll taxes and help chronically jobless groups like older Americans and veterans.

What changes or improvements will President Obama incite with this speech? Well … probably none. The economy will still be in deep trouble, the debt problem will only get worse and the president’s popularity will continue to suffer.

On the Economy: Everyone agrees that the No. 1 problem right now in the American economy is jobs. And most people agree that it would be nice for Congress to do a little less jaw-wagging and do a little more to right the ship. However, this ship has been taking on water since 2008 and it is perhaps a little naïve to assume that anything can be done to make an impact quickly – or even a substantive enough impact to make people more optimistic about the nation’s outlook. Obama himself has started using the refrain that there is no “magic bullet” here. Sounds like while he’s going to propose some big things tonight, he doesn’t truly expect big benefits to the economy as a result.

Related Article: 7 ugly truths about Obama’s $787 billion stimulus[1]

On Debt: There are many critics who claim that Keynsian theories – that is the ideas of economist John Maynard Keynes, who in a nutshell forged the notion that a government can pull a country out of a deep recession by spending a lot – just don’t work. Let’s assume for a minute that broad criticism is off base, since it is admittedly levied commonly by those who are conservative leaning and therefore have a political axe to grind. In this specific case of the 2008-2009 downturn, Obama already had a massive government intervention via the $787 billion stimulus measure. If that didn’t work, what will less than half that amount do? Other than adding another big chunk of change to our debt, of course.

On the President’s Popularity: According to two new surveys, an ABC News/Washington Post[2] polland NBC/Wall Street Journal[3] poll, Obama approval ratings are at a record low in his presidency – just 43% and 44%, respectively. A Politico/George Washington University[4] poll was only slightly better, with 45% of voters giving Obama a thumbs-up on his performance. Not a good sign for Election Day 2012 – and unless the speech tonight outlines some groundbreaking changes, little is going to change in this outlook.

In short, it’s more of the status quo in Washington.

I don’t mean to bad-mouth Obama. He’s an intelligent man who obviously wants the best for his country in a time of crisis. I certainly don’t envy the tough spot he’s in. But good intentions and good speeches only go so far.

Jeff Reeves[5] is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.


  1. 7 ugly truths about Obama’s $787 billion stimulus: https://investorplace.com/2011/08/ugly-truths-obama-stimulus-jobs-economy/
  2. ABC News/Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postabcpoll_090111.html
  3. NBC/Wall Street Journal: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/NEWS/A_Politics/_Today_Stories_Teases/Correct_NBCWSJ_poll.pdf
  4. Politico/George Washington University: http://www.politico.com/static/PPM170_090611_battlegroundpoll_results.html
  5. Jeff Reeves: https://investorplace.com/2011/08/ugly-truths-obama-stimulus-jobs-economy/2011/08/2011/08/2011/08/2011/08/2011/08/2011/08/hewlett-packard-hp-stock-buyback-autonomy-buyout-hpq/2011/08/author/jeff-reeves/

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