Ezra Klein on the death of President Obama’s jobs bill:
As my colleague Brad Plumer reported yesterday, Congress hasn’t adopted the administration’s infrastructure package, but they’re moving closer to it. And as we reach the end of the year, are Republicans really going to refuse to extend and expand the payroll tax and unemployment benefits?
The other question is whether, in the absence of clear Republican cooperation on the major elements of their jobs package, the administration will let their jobs program die with a whimper. They can still refuse to sign anything the supercommittee produces if it doesn’t include a job agenda of similar size, and thus effectively use the trigger as leverage for a jobs plan. But as of yet, they have shown little interest in doing so. They have given a speech, but unlike the Republicans on the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, they have refused to use their procedural leverage.
Perhaps they have something else up their sleeve. But if there’s no plan B, that’s no one’s fault but their own. For all that the administration’s liberal base wanted a fighting speech from President Obama, it was always clear that that wouldn’t be enough — and stood a good chance of even proving counterproductive — in passing a bill. The follow-up package of offsets, which focused on tax cuts for the rich, was, similarly, encouraging to liberals, but DOA in the House.
It’s possible, of course, that the administration decided that this is all a moot point, and there is no political strategy right now that wil lead to a serious agreement on jobs spending with Cantor and his members. It’s possible that everything is going exactly according to the administration’s plan and they’re putting the finishing touches on a Truman-like campaign against a do-nothing, block-everything Congress. But if so, that’s quite a statement about how much help the American people can expect from the federal government in the face of a weakening economy and a possible double-dip recession. More evidence, I guess, for the thesis that the politicians who will decide America’s presidential election all reside in Europe, if only because they’re the politicians who are actually making decisions that will affect the global economy.