President Obama Pivots Back to the Economy -- Again

Yahoo Contributor Network

Yahoo News asked Americans to respond to Barack Obama's speech on the economy on Wednesday and share whether their own financial lives match the president's words. Here's one perspective.

COMMENTARY | If one had imagined that President Obama's "economic" speech would actually have some new ideas to fix the economy, listening to it would quickly disabuse oneself of that notion.

It was a campaign speech without an actual campaign.

Much of the speech consisted of blaming Republicans for the continuing economic woes that have persisted for over four years of the president's administration. The word that he used with great frequency was "gridlock," by which he meant Republican resistance to his spending priorities. "Repealing Obamacare and cutting spending is not an economic plan," he sneered as he decried the "partisanship" of his opposition.

The other part of the speech consisted of the president boasting about what he has done and what he will do, whether Congress likes it or not. The second-most-used word in this portion of the speech, it appeared, was "investment" or perhaps it was "middle class" or "good jobs." The most-used word, or so it seemed, was "I," as in "I will do this" and "I demand that Congress do that." But there were no real new ideas, just versions of the old ones, including new spending and raising the minimum wage.

Speaking as a resident of Texas, a state run by a government with a very different view toward enabling economic growth, I was bemused by President Obama's bluster and his refusal to face reality. Times in Texas are relative good, thanks in part to a shale oil and gas boom but also thanks to a state government that approaches the economy by getting out of the way, with low taxes, an easy to comply with regulatory regime, and tort reform, the opposite of the president's big government approach.

It was likely too much to expect that the president would announce that he would name Texas Gov. Rick Perry as "recovery czar" to help enact the "Texas Model" across the country. But it would have been fun.

Mark R. Whittington lives in Houston.

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