Job One for Obama: See job creation through the eyes of Bill Clinton

Labor Day isn’t much of a holiday when it’s dreary and raining and when the economy is doing anything but raining jobs.

The hot winds of despair are whipping up the grit, and it’s painting the backs of our throats. No wonder allergies are having anything but a flat-tire season.

Granted, football season is upon us, so not everything in America is gloom, doom and smiles permanently frozen upside down.

But forget football for now. We have President Obama’s job creation speech coming up Thursday night in front of a joint session of Congress and in terms of importance, it ranks right up there with breathing.

Of course, the cynics already are thicker than flies on an unattended picnic cheeseburger, yelping like bacon grease splattering on a hot stove. Obama hasn’t opened his mouth yet and already conservatives have tuned him out.

Personally, I wish we could trade Bill Clinton for Obama. Right now. But Obama, not to mention the Constitution and Republicans, might have a slight problem with that.

At least Obama may be adopting some of Bubba’s insight on job creation. So I guess Obama’s not quite as dumb as a tree stump. He knows he had better kick the economy in the ass or else his ass is grass.

Many of you perhaps remember Clinton’s White House years simply as a time for cigars and Monica. But in his spare time Clinton did lead America out of a recession and turned a deficit into a surplus — all the while sparring with a Republican-controlled Congress. Then he was decisively reelected. Man, that’s a miracle of walking on water proportion.

Evidently some of Obama’s points in his speech may mirror Clinton’s ideas of retrofitting commercial buildings to make them more energy-efficient, incentivizing engineering degrees, cutting the corporate tax rate in exchange for closing loopholes to help companies start reinvesting cash back in the U.S., offering tax credits for startup companies in specific strategic industries like battery technology, incentivizing bank loans for small businesses and civic projects, and creating a public-private infrastructure bank that draws on third-way thinking while translating directly to job creation.

But more than specifics, Obama has to mimic Clinton’s focus on the middle class, which has been knocked on its trousers. The middle class has been kicked like a rented mule and forgotten.

The middle class has been squeezed on both sides until the juice has been running down its-now alligator arms for a decade.

America needs a strong middle class, a middle class that is optimistic about the future, confident enough to spend money and grow the economy and jobs. The middle class benefits the most from intelligent government action that incentivizes private-sector investment.

What’s become lost in translation is that the middle class determines who wins elections.

Obama had better effectively court the middle class Thursday night as well as deliver core ideas that animate his jobs speech with bold, bipartisan policy solutions.

The stakes couldn’t be higher even if you attached a booster rocket to them. Obama’s economic credibility and reelection prospects are squarely targeted in the crosshairs of destiny.

Even more important, the future of America precariously hangs in the balance like a tractor trailer jackknifed on the edge of a mountainside cliff.

What are we gonna be, America? Top Shelf or Third World?

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