Tomorrow, President Obama will take the stage in front of congress and the American people to propose a plan to create jobs. The plan, as of now, is largely unknown. There has been speculation about the size of the plan ($300b-$400b by most accounts), and there has been speculation about what the plan will contain (an infrastructure bank, education spending, and a payroll tax cut extension are all being reported as part of the plan).
While we can not yet know what President Obama will propose, it is clear how he must propose it. The President Obama that we see tomorrow night must be the Candidate Obama that we saw in 2008. He must be both optimistic and serious, specific and big-pictured. He must talk of creating jobs in both the short term and the long term.
Above all, he must be audacious, and his plan must be audacious. Americans do not want a plan that “incentives” job creation. We’ve seen with the stimulus what works and what doesn’t work. The part of the stimulus that created jobs was infrastructure spending, aid to states and municipalities, and investments in innovation. The part that did not create jobs was the $250b in tax cuts.
Finally, Americans do not want to sacrifice the audacity of direct job creation in a compromise with Republicans. If Republicans want to vote against a jobs bill, let them do it. If the bill doesn’t pass because of them, let the American people turn the 2012 election into a referendum on that vote. There is no more room for compromise when it comes to creating jobs for Americans.
It’s time for President Obama to test Republicans, instead of trying to work with them. Whatever Obama proposes tomorrow will be universally opposed by the right. Let them say no to a jobs bill, and let’s see if the American people will turn around and say no to them.