Obama's challenge: Showing how a big deficit reduction deal creates desperately needed jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) — Immersed in an intense struggle to cut the national debt, President Barack Obama faces a dilemma that will stay with him even if he succeeds in striking a grand deal with Congress: convincing Americans that the entire effort will do anything to create desperately needed jobs.
Obama ties deficit reduction to jobs, on the basis that trying to balance the nation's books will promote economic stability and give businesses more confidence to hire. But that's a tough sell to the millions of Americans out of work right now. And the communications problem just got harder.
The latest snapshot of the economy, out Friday, was a body blow that showed employers added a meager 18,000 jobs in June. The leaders of the country, meanwhile, are consumed with negotiating a major debt-reduction deal built upon cutting spending and raising taxes. It is not directly aimed at boosting jobs.
Obama's challenge is to link all this in meaningful terms and to get faster results. At stake are the country's economic recovery and his re-election chances.
The debt is the urgent problem for Obama and a divided Congress because they have no choice. Reaching a deal has become the key to winning Republican support for raising the nation's debt limit, a politically noxious vote that Congress must take by Aug. 2 to keep the nation from risking default for the first time ever.