In the days leading up to today’s presidential jobs speech, folks are scratching their heads in search of affective ways to remove the unemployment albatross from around the counties neck. The White House believes it has some answers with the 45 minute jobs speech. Dan Pfeiffer, White House Communications Director says the president will deliver “new meaningful initiatives,” that will be “fully paid for.”
President Obama is expected to deliver a direct message to Congress with a plan he feels should gain bipartisan support. Reports indicate the cost of the jobs package is $300 billion dollars.
Politicos inside DC are calling this a major speech because of what is at stake and how it is being delivered. It is being compared to the State of the Union Address. Both speeches take place in the well of the House before a Joint Session of Congress. First lady Michelle Obama will watch from her typical box seat with invited guests flanked around her. Those guests are said to be people associated with the issue of the hour.
WATCH MARTIN BASHIR’S COVERAGE OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS
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This latest, in a series of jobs speeches, the president will tell America where we are and where we can go together as a country. “He [President Obama] wants to lay out, in detail, what exactly he thinks Congress should pass to support our economy and create jobs”, according to a White House Source.
Presidential spokesman, Jay Carney said the president spent part of the Labor Day holiday weekend working on the speech and is “very far along.” The president also took time during his Martha’s Vine Yard vacation to talk to business leaders to include mogul Warren Buffet and Ken Chenault of American Express, on ways to get people back to work.
An unidentified White House official believes the speech will remind the American public “why they voted for him [President Obama]” as his approval numbers hover around 40 percent. Pollsters contend the Obama approval numbers are directly linked to the middle income pocketbook.
Currently, 14 million Americans are counted as unemployed in America. The August overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent. The black jobless rate rose to 16.7 percent with the Hispanic rate at 11.3 percent.
After the latest numbers were released, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said she was “very sad” about the African-American and Hispanic jobless numbers. The numbers continue the historic employment gap between blacks and whites in this nation. But, the official unemployment math does not calculate the 8.8 million Americans who are underemployed, part-timers looking for full time work.
April Ryan is the White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN)More than 26 percent percent of African-Americans and nearly 22 percent of Hispanics are underemployed. Whites are less than 15 percent of the underemployed. Women are more likely than men to be underemployed.
Secretary Solis affirms the White House understands a lot is riding on the president’s address as economic indicators show people need relief. The administration also contends there are things the government can do to strengthen the private sector. There is still hope in the black community the speech will not continue the Obama administration theory, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
However, an anonymous White House official is lowering expectations on possibilities of the president addressing a targeted employment approach for blacks saying, “The speech is being written with an understanding about the historic race disparity in unemployment.”
In June, the Labor Department released the results of a study called The Black Labor Workforce in the Recovery. Page one of the study states black workers are more likely to be employed in the public sector than either their white or Hispanic counterparts. In August, 17 thousand government jobs were lost.The president is expected to address the issue in broad terms with initiatives aimed at first responders and teachers, on government payrolls.
Suggestions for what President Obama should say abound from some African-American leaders on a possible jobs fix. Former Baltimore City Mayor, Kurt Schmoke believes the president’s speech must include words about the historic unemployment gap. When the Government began an official counting of the nations jobless in 1972, the black unemployment rate was twice that of White America.
Schmoke feels the president can take more Executive control to fix the problem saying, “if he were Mayor today he would request President Obama push the limit on Executive Orders to fund initiatives for infrastructure construction projects” since congress is blocking many if not most of the Presidents efforts. Infrastructure building is something the president continuously reiterates.
The White House contends this speech is about what Congress should do, not Executive Orders. But sources contend there are always contingency plans if laying the plan before congress does not work. The source notes, if that fails, the president will go before the American People.
Other possible solutions have come from the National Urban League and the Congressional Black Caucus. During the 112th Congress, the CBC members have introduced over 40 job creation bills to mark their 40-year history. President Obama has yet to officially sign on to any of their proposals to the upset of the black federal lawmakers.