The “Pivot to Jobs” Will Be an Attempt to Sell Trade Deals

A number of liberals are sitting around today puzzling through the deal that just happened yesterday. And one thing they’re asking is, “how will Obama pivot to jobs?” One of the many lame excuses the White House has offered for the urgency of this deal, after all, is that by clearing it off the table, it’ll allow the Administration to finally address jobs.

If the debt deal passed yesterday drastically cuts discretionary funding, they note, then there will be no funding for investments in jobs.

But that ignores one thing: Obama has told us how he plans to “pivot to jobs:” he plans to focus his attention on three trade deals–with Panama, Colombia, and Korea–as a central part of his program to address jobs.

Nevermind that these trade deals will send jobs overseas. Nevermind that these trade deals will result in fewer jobs.

Obama plans to, nevertheless, claim he wants these policies in the name of jobs.

Update: Obama made these comments on July 8, in response to last month’s crappy jobs report.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

22 replies
  1. jo6pac says:

    Yep, and congresscritter rollover give 0/corp. masters what they want and Main Street loses thousands of jobs. Then there’s still an amazing number of 0 True Believers out there.

  2. Brian Silver says:

    Obama will pivot to jobs and the House of Representatives has gone home through Labor Day. This means, for example, that Congress can’t pass the FAA bill, many federal workers are furloughed, and a project in planning that would employ many more isn’t happening. According to WaPo “the FAA’s partial shutdown has cost the country $30 million a day in uncollected taxes and has caused 4,000 workers to be furloughed, including 1,000 in the Washington area.

    Oops, I think I’d better pivot off to my office now.

  3. phred says:

    The very suggestion that President TeaCup gives a damn about jobs is just flat out hilarious.

    He can pivot and spin until he turns a delicate shade of green, but he has sealed his electoral fate here. The economy will sink under his austere gaze, but hey, no worries, he’ll get big fat fees for his speaking gigs long after his removal from the WH.

  4. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Aren’t these the deals some of the unions are supporting? What’s their angle?

    I found the following in a link over on Calculated Risk. Seems to me a fair read on yesterday’s activities. The question to me is can Obama be trusted to capitalize on these three bullet points or does he have other intentions?

    On policy, Obama wins big by doing nothing

    My colleague Tim Carney tweets out this morning: “Ross Douthat’s column http://nyti.ms/ofYXAD supports my view: Obama’s more about getting the right poltical frame than the right policies.” Indeed, Tim’s column this morning argues: “Democrats put politics ahead of policy — again.” In the short-term, I think Douthat and Carney are right, the debt deal is a big policy loss for Obama. But if you look just a little bit down the road, Obama has set himself up for some huge policy victories as long as he wins reelection. Consider:
    •If Congress does nothing, taxes go up by $3.5 trillion on January 1st, 2013.
    •If Congress does nothing, Obamacare is implemented on schedule.
    •If Congress does nothing, defense spending is cut by around $800 billion (about $300 billion in first round of debt deal cuts, about $500 billion if Super Congress-fail trigger is pulled).

    So if Obama wins reelection, a big if, he begins his second term with three huge liberal policy victories: lower defense spending, higher taxes, and an untouched entitlement state … all by doing nothing. From there he could go on to increase defense spending (above the cuts in the debt deal trigger) and cut taxes (compared to the $3.5 trillion tax hike), all while having four more years to solidify Obamacare’s legitimacy.

    As long as Obama strings together enough short-term political victories to get himself reelected, he will be a big policy winner come 2013.

  5. coral says:

    Beyond depressing. I’m aghast and afraid, as our household income has already been cut by state funding problems.

    Also wonder about the world that awaits my children, both young adults, who worked 24/7 to get Obama elected. The betrayal is more shocking to me than even Bush-Gore, and the Iraq debacle. Because this was supposed to be a change for the better, and it seems to be a 1000 times worse.

  6. MadDog says:

    As I commented on in EW’s previous post, and on point in general here as well regarding the US employment picture:

    An additional thing to consider is with the decrease in availability of student loans, there will be less students attending school.

    Now if they aren’t attending school, a good many of them will be out looking for work thereby inflating the numbers of jobseekers for the static or same number of jobs.

    Add to that factor will be the cost benefit viewed by any potential employers to make any hiring they actually undertake at the entry-level low end of the wage and experience scale thereby exacerbating an already lousy re-employment outlook for the middle-aged and experienced unemployed.

  7. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Has anyone found any info on the exact procedures this super-committee will be following? What percentage of people on the committee have to vote for a package to make it eligible to go before Congress? IS it going to be a simple majority?

  8. jawbone says:

    Not sure what can be done, but it would be nice if YouTube required a date/time stamp for news videos. I have no idea whwn Obama made the comments in the video. (No, I haven’t googled.)

    Is there at way to find out that isn’t obvious at the YouTube site?

  9. merkwurdiglieber says:

    Obama is the original Obamabot, he stays on the script Summers and Robert Rubin fed him years ago… it works for him, for the rank and file democrats, not so much.

  10. jawbone says:

    The Committee of 12 Caesars is set up to get passage of recommendations by a 50% plus one vote; in other words, 7 out of the 12 must approve.

    A tie leads to the automatic cuts (hhhmm, is that accurate?). A failure to be passed in Congress leads to automatic cuts.

    If Reid appoints just one ConservaDem, all is lost to libs and progressives. And Obama yesterday said (or WH spokesperson said) he wants deficit hawks on the committee.

    It’s how he rolls: Stack the deck for the outcome he wants. Maybe Pete Peterson can come up with some sweeteners for whomever is named…. I’ve found it interesting that Peterson, who was all over the airwaves for awhile, has been remarkably quiet during the debt ceiling brouhaha — almost as if he didn’t want to be noticed or something….

    The Repubs plan on appointing all people who will say absolutely no new taxes. Pelosi may appoint Dems from the Democratic Wing of the party; hopefully, she will.

    Reid is a toss up. I find him hard to read.(Pun intended.)

  11. Gitcheegumee says:

    Union chief warns of job losses from debt-ceiling deal (“economic malpractice”)
    Source: The Hill

    Union chief warns of job losses from debt-ceiling deal
    By Kevin Bogardus – 08/01/11 06:50 PM ET

    The agreement to lift the debt ceiling will lead to job losses, according to the president of the nation’s main public workers union.

    Gerry McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said the compromise was “economic malpractice.”

    “The deal forced upon the White House and the nation represents a form of economic malpractice,” McEntee said in a statement. “At the least, it will slow economic recovery and impose more joblessness, wage cuts and hardship on America’s working families.

    But McEntee did not announce opposition to the agreement negotiated by President Obama, and several other labor groups, including the AFL-CIO, were notably silent in the hours leading up to votes Monday in the House and Senate on a deficit-reduction package that would also raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/174863-uni

  12. rugger9 says:

    @GulfCoastPirate:

    I find Calculated Risk wonkish, yet fair. Lots of acronyms, but they have consistently been right even when the MSM and the Merc try to paint rosier housing pictures than are truthful to prop up the markets. It’s a must-read for financials, right after Krugman for the big picture stuff.

    Will Sanders filibuster? Exactly what rules are for the super congress, who decides them? Its precedent would be the BRAC system for base closures, since no congressthing would ever close anything left to their own devices. The BRAC decisions were then given the up or down vote as a single set to minimize the horsetrading.

    Why Obama wants to help the Rs by killing his support from his base is really beyond my understanding, unless he is so arrogant to think the nation won’t vote GOP, or for whoever AmericaSelect digs up. I’m sure Daley, Plouffe, et al., feel invulnerable given who the GOP has on the table now. They aren’t.

  13. matthew carmody says:

    Of course he and his masters like shipping jobs down there. In addition to poverty level wages these countries have the added advantage of dealing with unionization of workers by plain old killing the organizers! How cool is that if you’re the Koch brothers or Coca-Cola (long history of killing union organizers in Colombia).

    Speaking of Coke and Colombia – has anyone verified recently that their secret recipe doesn’t actually use cocaine or a derivative thereof? Like the FDA? Or the DEA?

  14. Gitcheegumee says:

    Gitcheegumee:

    And, coincidentally enough:

    ‘Former paramilitary commander, Chiquita middleman’ sentenced to 20 years
    Source: Colombia Reports

    ‘Former paramilitary commander, Chiquita middleman’ sentenced to 20 years
    Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:45
    Travis Mannon

    A former commander of the umbrella paramilitary organization AUC and the alleged mediator between the AUC and Chiquita was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for aggravated homicide and forced disappearances.

    Various media reported that Raul Emilio Hasbun, alias “Pedro Bonito,” admitted to murdering two suspected guerrillas in a town in Uraba in northwestern Colombia in 1997. He confessed to his crimes to receive half the sentence he would have received if he had been found guilty in a trial.

    Pedro Bonito, the former commander of “Bloque Bananero,” a division of the AUC, who was himself a banana-producing businessman, has been accused of acting as the intermediary between Chiquita and AUC leader Carlos Castaño to meet and sort out payments.

    The banana company paid paramilitary death squads between the years of 1997 and 2004 to keep Chiquita’s crops safe. The AUC is known to have committed hundreds of crimes against humanity in Uraba during that period, included murder and extortion.

    Read more: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/18041-for

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