President Obama hit the road this week, as he carries out his pledge to convince Americans to urge their elected officials to pass his job creation package. The president, who has stepped up his rhetoric in the wake of Thursday's address to a joint session of Congress, is working to stimulate a historically weak U.S. labor economy.
Obama gave a speech in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, addressing a group of supporters – and critics – at a local high school. The talk was strategic, political pundits assert, as Ohio is a so-called swing state, and one whose economy has incongruously suffered in the wake of the recession.
The president was touting a component of the job bill
aimed at improving school buildings. Obama told a crowd of gatherers that his plan would invest roughly $25 billion in badly needed upgrades for public schools across the U.S. What's more, it would help to prevent teacher layoffs, he said, by providing cash-strapped local and state governments with increased funding.
Experts contend the job bill could have a substantial effect on the economy
next year, when a majority of its financing is slated for allocation. An analysis conducted by Moody's Analytics, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. concluded if passed in its entirety, the bill could add as much as 2 percent to 2012 GPD growth.
"The U.S. is on the cusp of a recession," Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi affirmed. "The plan would go a long way toward stabilizing confidence, forestalling another recession and jump-starting a self-sustaining economic expansion."
A number of analysts contend the government is largely limited in its ability to spur job creation
, given the nation's soaring budget deficit and mounting debt. However, many economists backed the president's proposal, affirming it would help to create construction jobs
What's more, some experts assert it could also spur some businesses mulling whether to expand their payrolls to move forward with such plans. The bill would deliver roughly $250 billion of its estimated $447 billion price tag in the form of tax cuts, including an extension of the payroll tax cut passed by officials last year.
Nevertheless, many experts affirmed the bill would ultimately have a minimal effect on the overall unemployment rate, which remains at 9.1 percent. The president's reelection hopes hinge on the labor economy's performance over the next 14 months, if history is any guide.
No sitting president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been reelected when the unemployment rate on Election Day registered higher than 7.2 percent.
Still, some analysts assert such a statistic amounts to a red herring, as Ronald Reagan handily won reelection in 1984 with an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. Reagan won election by 18 percentage points, indicating he could also potentially have won had the unemployment rate been somewhat higher, perhaps even 7.5 percent, Nate Silver argued in the New York Times.
Unlike Reagan, however, Obama has failed to keep the near universal backing he enjoyed at the onset of his tenure. Whether Obama is ultimately responsible for its downward trajectory, the U.S. economy has sunk during his presidency, with the government releasing a seemingly endless stream of grim economic data.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday the 2010 U.S. median household income fell compared to 2009. What's more, the poverty rate increased as the real median household income declined by 2.3 percent.
With the weak labor economy
diminishing the president's reelection hopes, Obama hopes to ensure the passage of the job creation bill. Though, with partisan conflicts continuing to cast a shadow over Washington, it is unlikely the deeply divided Congress will pass the bill in its entirety, experts assert.