The Debate on the American Economy - "Jolt"

This past Friday, President Obama held a press conference to talk about the American economy. While optimistic about private sector growth over the past 27 month, Obama stressed the need for further action to advance the recovery. He also cited potentially weakened European demand in the event of an European financial meltdown as further impetus for action on the economy.

Obama emphasized the need to pass the American Jobs Act, which would put millions of laid off public employees back to work. He highlighted the needs to invest in infrastructure, keep people in their homes, and cut taxes on small businesses. Congressional obstinacy, according to the president, has delayed the bill’s passage and weakened the economy. The overall message appears to be that state and local governments need help putting people back to work.

In response to one reporter’s question concerning Republican allegations that Obama is blaming Europe for his own failed policies, Obama stated that “the private sector is doing fine,” and that in fact the public sector is currently the main drag on the economy. Republicans seized on this statement immediately as evidence that the president is out of touch with the American economy. Romney’s new ad, “Jolt,” attempts to demonstrate a contrast between economic reality and the president’s statement.

As the election approaches, the economy continues to play a crucial role in both campaign’s overarching narratives. While the Obama campaign has begun to articulate tangible policies to confront economic challenges – mainly through advocacy for the president’s jobs bill – Republicans relentlessly attack Obama’s handling of the economy without articulating policy alternatives of their own.