The Jobs Speech Obama Should Give

Solving unemployment requires stripping away unnecessary regulations, encouraging entrepreneurs, and restructuring the American economy.


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to bring some clarity to the arguments about our economic condition and where the path to recovery leads—we will not see a return to full employment or strong economic growth for several years to come.

This may be difficult to swallow, especially for those facing unemployment, overwhelming debt, and falling wages. But the very problems weighing down the American economy are misaligned skills in the work force, a debt supercycle that still requires years of deleveraging with households contributing more towards savings and paying down debt than towards consumption and investment, and transformations in the structure of economic productivity. These are not challenges that will be quickly overcome.

The good news is that there are many things our government can do to help the job market. Tonight I will propose a series of projects to help American entrepreneurs thrive, to enable American businesses to compete, and to promote economic freedom as the path to recovery for our great nation.   

First, let me be clear: We must understand that the causes of our high unemployment cannot be separated from the underlying causes of today's overall lethargic recovery.

We face the aftermath of a financial crisis that was brought on by a glut of debt and overleveraging. The contracting economy can not be stimulated back to health, and until the debt is drained from the system we will have slow growth, capital sitting on the sidelines, and a slow return of new jobs.

Moreover, we won't see a strong recovery until the household debt problem specifically goes away—not just because it would help recovery for the housing industry, but because it would eventually mean more consumption and investment.

Still, these are not our only challenges. Today's unemployment troubles are not only the result of the great contraction. In fact, our economy is also undergoing fundamental changes.

The low-hanging fruit of innovation that helped bring America so much prosperity is gone. When Henry Ford turned his Model-T into a full-scale assembly line he started an innovative process that created millions of jobs. But today's innovations, such as Google, smartphones, and advanced medical technologies do not create the same number of jobs. Today's innovation brings great advantages to quality of life, but new technologies do more to automate and bring efficiency than to create the same large number of jobs as those previous innovations brought.

Companies today are able to do more with less. Since 1990, manufacturing output has grown 30 percent. But at the same time the number of workers employed by manufacturing companies has fallen by more than 50 percent. This indicates that the American manufacturing sector is not dying or getting shipped overseas, but instead is simply becoming more automated and less dependent on manual labor.

Unless we want to return to typewriters, or rid ourselves of washing machines to once again clean our laundry with washboards and elbow grease, this is a trend we must accept in order to meet the new challenges ahead.

A brief glance at population statistics indicates the scope of what we face. Since the turn of the millennium the number of American workers has grown by more than 10 million, yet the number of private-sector jobs has declined by two million. That is not because of the recession or contraction, but instead a sign that our economy has not adapted well to changes in the 21st century.

It used to be that employers would keep some workers on payrolls through tough times to ensure that the talent remained when things got better. But the ability for employers to find workers at the last minute to fill a need—particularly with the proliferation of job-posting websites in the past decade—has changed this labor hording attitude. That means more unemployment in today's highly interconnected economy.

The health care and technology sectors have been rapidly expanding in the past few years. However, a number of positions remain open in these fields as employers seek to find labor with the right skills. One critical component of today's unemployment crisis is that the skills mismatch between what is demanded in today's marketplace and what is available amongst today's workers.

This means retraining for manufacturing and construction workers that are unlikely to get their old jobs back even in a strong economy down the road. But that is a process which will take time and demands patience from the American people.

We can reduce the intensity of this skills mismatch in the future by committing ourselves to education reform that breaks from traditional modes of throwing money at the problem and instead seeks better measures of effectiveness and a willingness by local leaders and teachers unions to embrace the approaches which are best for the child—even if those are not the best for administrator pay and security.

There will always be some measure of skills mismatch as capital is readjusted to its best possible use in the economy. But we can work to ensure that U.S. public policy avoids distorting where that capital goes so that no sector of the economy is propped-up for longer than it should survive. An example of this in past is how, in the spirit of pursuing the American Dream, housing subsidies and other programs contributed to the skills mismatch problem by causing an oversupply of capital to flood the construction industry during the bubble period of the last decade. 

So we should not hope for a return to 2007, when there were 2.2 million more construction workers then there are today. Nor should we expect that the consolidation of the financial industry, which has shed nearly 750,000 workers since 2007, will reverse course. Instead, we should be looking for the jobs of the future and what it will take to retrain today's unemployed workforce.

These structural problems cannot be fixed with more direct spending programs, an infrastructure bank built on the failed government-sponsored enterprise model, or an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

The solution to today's unemployment malaise must be polies that will help the economy in general by freeing up companies and entrepreneurs to pursue expanding or starting business ventures that adapt to the changes in the marketplace.

To this end we should be aware of how regulations and taxes inhibit job creation. Therefore, instead of just talking about how to create jobs, my administration intends to focus on addressing any restriction to economic freedom in the U.S. with the goal of creating an environment for entrepreneurs to thrive.

To do this we must focus on both long-term and short-term objectives. Here are seven areas we can address for change over the long-term:

First, our education system is highly inefficient. Test scores remain at the same level today as in the 1970s, which means given the advancement in teaching methods and technology since then the actual education level is even lower. We need to embrace comprehensive reform, as I mentioned earlier.

Second, the American immigration system is an impediment to economic growth and employment expansion. I recommend that we eliminate all quotas for immigrants that plan to open a business and begin to issue "entrepreneurs' visas" to highly skilled immigrants. Attracting and retaining top talent is essential for future job creation.

Third, we must overhaul the tax code. Whether it is by eliminating all deductions or simply replacing the income, corporate, and capital gains taxes with a consumption tax, Congress should make tax code reform a top priority.

Fourth, changes to the tax code should be coupled with reducing the long-term debt and deficit through responsible entitlement reform. We must commit ourselves to the necessary changes in Medicare and Social Security that will reduce future liabilities, eliminate waste, and ensure that the social safety net can be maintained for those to which it was promised.

Fifth, recovery in the housing industry, and the return of some related jobs in that sector, will involve getting the foreclosure process back up to speed so that we accelerate the deleveraging process of household debt. To this end I have directed federal regulators to quickly come to a settlement with banks over the mortgage servicing fraud dispute.

I have also decided to end programs that aim to stop the decline of housing prices. As long as housing prices remain higher than buyers are willing to pay, then families that want to move to another part of the country for work will not be able to sell their home. This problem, called labor immobility, has added to the unemployment rate.

Furthermore, to ensure the proper allocation of capital to the housing industry, I will direct Secretaries Geithner and Donovan to initiate the necessary steps to dissolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac responsibly over the next five years so that the private sector can once again compete in mortgage finance.

Sixth, not only do we need to approve the pending free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which will have many short-term benefits, we also need to initiate new free trade talks with Japan, India, Turkey, Indonesia, and Kenya, among others. New free trade agreements open up entrepreneurial potential and produce lower consumer prices. My administration also plans to make completion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership a priority, which would open free trade with nations from Malaysia to Vietnam to New Zealand.

Finally, we need to curb the regulation burden once and for all. Earlier this year, departments in my administration began reporting on ways they could reduce the regulations on their books. Next, I will be recommending that Congress pass legislation requiring a cost-effectiveness measure for major regulations. Furthermore, I recommend a 10 year automatic sunset clause on each new regulation unless the rule is reviewed and found to provide substantially better impact to business development than intended.

This new framework will require, for example, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Federal Reserve to better analyze the impact of their proposed rules under the Dodd-Frank Act. Additionally, over the long-term, we will need to repeal harmful elements of Dodd-Frank and address the gaps in legislation that still leave financial markets distorted by political intention in a way that keeps some institutions too big and too interconnected to fail.

Admittedly, many of the benefits from these reforms will be long-term in nature. So with that in mind I also propose the following initiatives that will benefit the economy in the short-term without ignoring the long-term structural problems we still face:

  • The Joint Special Committee in Congress should put together a deficit-cutting package that exceeds the $1.2 trillion minimum and turns the upward slope of government spending down, instead of just slowing the rate of spending over the next 10 years. This would provide at least a small amount of confidence to some private sector companies.
  • In addition to keeping the payroll tax holiday for employees, we should extend it to employers, and pay for it with savings from tax code and entitlement reform.
  • Recognizing that the unemployment insurance system is integrally woven into the social fabric of American society, we should realize that it is not going away in the near future. However, to make the spending programs more efficient, I recommend that unemployment checks be converted into vouchers given directly to companies that hire workers to keep them on payrolls for at least three months.
  • I propose curbing the powers of the National Labor Relations Board to block manufacturing from relocating—69 percent of manufacturers recently reported that the NLRB has slowed their efforts to expand and create more jobs. This will not bring back millions of manufacturing jobs, but it will slow the rate at which manufacturing jobs disappear in America.
  • We should remove restrictions that prevent employers from hiring on their terms, such as the minimum wage and the lending cap to small businesses placed on credit unions.
  • I encourage Congress to repeal regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules that keep small companies from going public and thus hindering their ability to expand and create jobs.
  • Finally, I encourage the states to move quickly in phasing out occupational licensing requirements, many of which simply serve to create high barriers to entry for entrepreneurs.

These are all matters that my administration and Congress should address in a timely manner, setting aside our political differences.

I hope that we can work together as a nation to harness the creativity of the American people. It is my belief that the more we as a nation recognize the true roots of today's economic problems, the better we will be able to ground our expectations in reality and meet the challenge of adjusting to a new economy in the 21st century.

Now, are you ready for some football?

Thank you, and God bless America.

Anthony Randazzo is director of economic research at Reason Foundation.

NEXT: What the GOP Debate About Immigration Looked Like in 1980

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  1. If it ain’t Barrack don’t fix it.

  2. Obama will offer up some bullshit new stimulus, with some bullshit taxbreaks, bullshit spending on creating bullshit jobs, and some other bullshit that will be even more obviously bullshit. Otherwise, it’ll be a great plan that won’t get past the House.

    1. That’s bullshit we can all believe in…..we just need a much bigger pile!

      1. because the first pile smelled so nice.

        1. The shitwinds are blowing.

    2. USPS bailout stimulus. JOBS CREATED/SAVED, BITCHES!

  3. I don’t get it. How would any of this get Obama payoffs from special interest groups and unions?

  4. I generally agree with the proposed speech–rein in government spending–a lot–dramatically reduce government regulation of and intervention in the economy, reduce the tax burden.

    1. which is why Obama will never deliver anything like it. He would rather cut off body parts than spending.

      1. The Democrats are well aware that the GOP is likely taking control of the government for a few years. So they intend to pay off their buddies as much as possible right now. This new stimulus scam is a quick and efficient way of doing that, and they’ll try to get it passed by including some GOP payola in it as well.

  5. bhorK this is for erasing my cool blog from dealante farcsite (farc states/cities/bailout$/”etc$”) and still carteling my bloodline family under a miamidade (I DON’T WANT MIAMI CALLED dade any more ok?, I ORDER IT TO BE CALLED AGAIN Greather Miami, NOT THE terror logi$TICK ORG miamidade, WICH RECOGNIZES ORDERS FROM CASTRO AGAINST POSADA CARRILES, MIREYISTS, and any anti-terror people, those who support DAMAS DE BLANCO, never ask about to fidel when visiting accepted martinelli’s prd (ma noriega’s party) cd castrocoyote civillian invasion from tedpalpatinekennedy’$ de$k$ miamidade mayoral varez police coyotesantuary zone, eat bhorK your anti-porkulus words, letters, ideas… spirit…: (and millions of rattings, 1st world, instantly… and intelligence…
    Espero que en Panama por lo menos se pueda saber como va “el poder” sobretodo policial y medico-legal, ma noriega ahora se le vislumbra un “nuevo” desastre: Francia ahora dice que “revisara” eso de que: “ya va para Panama”, IGUALITO que se intento en el santuario narco-terrorista que ma noriega para fidel construyo, y que le costo como 200 a?os de prision (a dos administraciones, MUCHISIMA gente (ma noriega estubo 2 decagas en una suit-sodomica prision en miamidade (se dice aqui que desaparecera ese nombre de miamidade, y regresara a como con los gringos: Greather Miami, pesadilla temida por ese sistema, como estara los de Panama?, Costarrica?… Suecia?… Francia?, Mejico? la castrocoyote lulu que nos tiene el sistema desde Panama?, ademas, la cantidad de arrestos por ser agentes de fidel con lulu LLEGA A RECORD, LA MEJOR PEZCA DE AGENTES, ESPIAS , ESBIRROS y DEMAS PORQUERIA QUE SE LES CONSIDERA yA COMO DEBE DE SER: I N V A S I O N C I V I L pre-militar o insurgente, castrocoyote como pretenden hacer en Arizona y el resto de la frontera (ma noriega “TRABAJO COMO CON MIAMI CONSTRUyENDO LAS BASES DE LOS INMIGRANTES y SUS PROTESTAS PARA EUROPA COMO pretenden en el medioriente… sharialaw… (poreso SE NECESITAN MUJERES CONSERVADORAS EN LOS GOBIRERNOS< NADIE COMO MUJER CONTRA ESO.>), contra ese sistema sue?o de lo peor de cada pais (aqui obama ha fracasado en todo lo que ha propuesto y “sobrevive a “flote” (le espera un tiro al blanco y el, patito inmovil hasta noviembre, FALTA 1 a?o para que los republicanos se le venza el tiempo para decidir candidatos… en Panama hay mas tiempo… para destruir esa pesadilla de autoridades y gangsters y terroristas de cuba y cada gente de ese sistema, sue?o, parecido a la avenida A’, al director de prisiones del estado, y a un monton, y MONTON COMO USTED SABE QUE yo LOGRO QUE CAIGAN, MASIVO, bueno, aqui y alla pienselo, la cantidad de gente comprobada agentes de cuba y ma noriega… y pienselo otra vez sabiendo que es casi imposible lograr esa cantidad de identidades y lo mas imposible: convencer a “los gringos que hay que invadir Panama como con ma noriega, y, crear movimientos como la cruzada, pero de primer mundo, sin plata, plomo, palo… y como “decia” Bush, encima, pedirles su sacrificio”…

    1. Herc’s cousin?

      1. No way they’re related.

        1. Not enough brackets or caps.

          1. No habla ingles

            1. White Mexican

    2. It’s Matt Damon again.

  6. cartels priced an American Sheriff a mill/rewar, bho puni$he$ and reward$… illegal inmigrants orK marching and chancting, aclu, acorn,”etc” assymetriCAL$, anamontes auuuthorities, she was the 1st arrest of 9-11, but BattleStar Christie O’Donell is fried and tryed to forced to take THE VIEW sharialaw “meet to eat and stone” into the drivebymediarrea’s beltway , not anamontes base gov conspiracy plan’s roxy, of “that view”, but Cristie O’Donell is sexualy assalted by pirate piersmorgan to order her to “just talk on sex on tv”, on sexual acts any young has, hillary and the view PROPAGANDIZE THAT…
    I’ll be back, with “some battlestars God always throw Us from the skies as on New KapriKa…
    hold the line

    1. neo,
      No podemos comprender si escribe solamente en Ingles.

    2. Now THIS is the speech that Obama should give tonight. Thumbs up!

  7. gods don’t self inflict sodomy

    1. Now that’s a phrase you don’t read every day.

  8. I recommend that unemployment checks be converted into vouchers given directly to companies that hire workers to keep them on payrolls for at least three months.

    Good luck with that.

    1. It all sounds like stuff stoners came up with during a late night “brain-storming” session.

    2. Stupid. I recommend unemployment checks be converted to nonexistence.

      1. Not yet. I’m reclaiming some of the money they’ve stolen from me for the past 33 years.

  9. you fear Sarah, don’t you malmanian?, remeber I suspect you’re bhorK itself, and remeber I was praying against you like on tedpalpatinekennedy, or castro a few hours before the fall, like you know… when your balrak of Moregov’$ wip-grabbed GWANDalf…
    remeber even the monster was screamming like hell when falling?, that’s what malmanian does, cries like a yabba the hut… when WE kill of their mon$ter$, every frakin week…
    I’m sorry Kara…

    1. How dare you invoke my name, Earthling. For that, you will taste the wrath of my balrak.

      1. to taste the wrath of your balrak over the taste of your ball sack.

    2. This is your brain on bath salts!

  10. How many jobs have speeches ever created, except for speechwriters?

    (and electricians to set up teleprompters)

    1. ROADZ to carry the speaker and guests, and…CARPENTERS to make stages! And PAPER COMPANIES for the notes!!


  11. Too long

    Way too long

    Try this:

    I resign.

    1. That would be the best speech he could ever give. But then again, that would leave that clown Biden in charge.

      1. Team blue will police that mess themselves? Biden picks a VP and …

  12. Just put this in his prompter, he’ll read ANYTHING that’s on the prompter!

    1. I’m Ron Burgandy?

  13. Nice generalities and pleasantries ya got there – now, “return to what you were doing before, Washington.”


  14. So, for someone unemployed today, how long will it be until they see the benefits of what Obama claims he will do?

    1. Ask the Republican majority in the House and the ruling Republican minority in the Senate.

      1. “Ruling minority”….. nice oxymoron you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

        1. But it would be nice if the country weren’t governed by its 15% yokel population.

          1. Bigoted much, Tony?

          2. Nah, Obama’s more of a ward heeler than a yokel.

  15. Here’s a better speech:

    “My policies suck. I’m an immoral, power-hungry, corrupt prick. Don’t even trust me to clean dog shit at the local park.”

    1. I disagree. I think cleaning dog shit in he park is perfect job for him. Provided it is a hands on position.

  16. Who else is going to avoid this speech like the plague? I’ve got an absolutely huge list of more interesting things to do, and I watched the debate last night.

    1. On my list of things to do, castrating myself with a pair of chopsticks that are covered in battery acid comes before watching Obama’s speech. As you can tell, watching the speech is pretty low on my things to do list.

    2. “…and I watched the debate last night.”

      And how’d that work out for you?

      1. I had it on in the background while doing other stuff. All it did was give me specific reminders of why I hate each candidate except Dr. Paul.

        Tonight, I’m going to have Obama’s speech on in the background too for the comedy value.

        1. I considered that, but the risk of barfing is too great.

    3. Me… I’m gonna play Resistance 3 some more.

  17. Schadenfraude

    “FBI agents executed search warrants on Thursday at the headquarters of California solar firm Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan from the federal government before filing for bankruptcy last week.”

    Crony capitalism is TEAM RED thing, right?

    1. *grabs popcorn*

      This should be fun to watch.

    2. Hmmm, I hadn’t realized that the Solyndra CEO had contributed to Republican candidates.

      1. That better be plain unsalted popcorn, cracka.

  18. I think Mr. Randazzo’s article is very good. I wish Obama would read it.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Obama will demand that an expensive plan with insufficient detail be enacted with great urgency. In the end, this plan will cost an order of magnitude more than the advertised cost and produce very little of value.

    Is Obama incompetent or simply trying to “Level the playing field”? There must be a legal way to fire a U.S. President without waiting for an election. In this case we need to fire an entire administration and a nest of “czars”.

    The economic problems that the world faces cannot be addressed by someone with one foot in Wonderland.

    1. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama will demand that an expensive plan with insufficient detail be enacted with great urgency. In the end, this plan will cost an order of magnitude more than the advertised cost and produce very little of value.”

      The story almost writes itself!

  19. Nothing about reducing our military footprint around the world. Boo!

  20. If your plan is to subsidize private business by letting them poison our natural resources and get away with harming more consumers by deregulating them, then why not cut out the middle man and subsidize individual purchasing power? It’s handouts either way. It just seems that deregulating is a roundabout way of going about it.

    1. Cubs sucks!!!!!

      1. Tony, you’re right. Subsidize taxpayers directly by reducing their taxes. I knew you’d wise up one day.

    2. A *whole lot* of stupid right there.

    3. If your plan is to subsidize private business by letting them poison our natural resources

      Like its any coincidence that blue-collar industries began the first of their migrations out of the US when the EPA was implemented. There’s a reason most union members are actually in government these days.

      Big industry comes with a cost, Tony–that’s why even our solar panels are made everywhere but here. So you and yours can give yourselves a big pat on the back for beginning the long, slow process of turning the US economy into a bunch of paper-pushers, fast-food workers, and Wal-Mart greeters.

    4. The stupid is strong with you Toni.


      Or is this a goof? Nope!

      These are not the Politicians you were looking for.

  21. That was awesome.

    But it’s fated to be ignored more than a Henry Jaglom film starring Olympia Dukakis.

  22. I’ll bet the NFL games get a better rating and they’re probably better at ‘creating jobs’.

  23. They have no idea what the new EPA regulations are doing to the Lawn and Garden industry.

    1. Bullshit.

      IRON LAW #7. Foreseeable consequences AREN’T unintended.

      Hat-tip to RC.

      1. They want to put me out of business?

  24. Why talk about what the sack of shit should say…..he won’t, he’s a socialist!

  25. Will Obama denounce this bit of senseless barbarism?…..160851.php

    Or will he ignore it?

    1. Labor-centric take on the same story:…..otect-jobs

      Fucking thugs.

  26. Nothing in this speech, in any fiscal action, & in an monetary action will make a good portion of the tens of trillions of unsustainable public & private promises worth more than ZERO.

    The market is calling for the great deflation. The market cannot restore the just allocation of resources, which are dramatically more profound than this article mentions, by continuing with the insanity.

    The message to Obama, Geithner, Reid, Boehner, Bernanke, Zoellick, & Lagarde is this:

    a voluntary bankruptcy always has less guillotines than an involuntary one.

    1. It’s ‘fewer guillotines’, not less.

  27. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    H L Mencken

    Obama: pass this bill right away, we are in desperate straits. It will solve everything.

  28. Mr. Author, you’re an idiot. You devoted a lengthy article to a significant topic and failed to identify the point which matters most here: making stuff. The cause of our high unemployment and lethargic recovery is from the systematic dismantling over the past 30+ years of the manufacturing sector in our country. I suggest people get off their asses and start reviewing how our trade “treatys” with foreign country’s are stacked against us. If I hear one more pinhead mention the buzz phrase “innovation by small businesses” I am going to puke. Innovation is key, of course, but what good does it do us if two or three brilliant minds create the next best thing so it can be built in China by thousands of laborers? A robust economy and society cannot be made 100% of inventors and white collar intellectual property experts. We need the whole package and that includes hourly workers who toil factories, craftsmen who specialize in trades, and seamstresses who sew garments and textiles along with lawyers, doctors and computer programmers. Are you getting the picture, yet? This has been obvious from the beginning of this mess in 2008. Wake up!

  29. “And at the end of the speech, Obama stopped, grinned, and went ‘gotcha!’

    Then everyone clapped, relieved that this glimpse of sanity and intelligence from their Chosen One was all just a very late April Fools’ joke.”

  30. Businesses have all the rights. They call the cops on me for skateboarding.

    1. Call the cops?
      I’d toss a grenade under your rig if you were skateboarding in front of my store.

      1. fascist

  31. This was such a vague proposal. Besides good luck cutting Medicare and SS.

  32. This was such a vague proposal. Besides good luck cutting Medicare and SS.

    1. Thanks. Heard ya the first time.

  33. I don’t understand why people like to demonize tech and say it’s killing jobs. Yes, some jobs become obsolete, but tech also creates a lot of jobs. So many unfilled jobs that we must import labor from other countries. There has been no recession in tech.

    1. Actually, tech has had three recessions in just the last ten years. Those who survive each recession tend to come out of it stronger and more in demand when the market bounces back — but you’ve got to be able to live on much lower income when the famine hits.

      Many people can’t do that, so they exit the business to go into whatever’s hot at the moment (in 2001, the big hot thing was banking and real estate). Then they complain when their new industry’s bubble pops and all those “lucky” people in tech are making money… ignoring the fact that they could have been doing the same if they’d stuck out 2001 and 2002 rather than jumping ship to Bank of America.

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