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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/21/11

Show Us the Jobs: Obama's State-of-the-Union Challenge

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The second point the President should make is that the US cannot be satisfied with this recovery because we are mired in a jobs slump, where the unemployment rate is 9.1 percent.  That's what Obama should focus on for the remainder of his speech: US Gross Domestic Product is up; our corporate profits are up; but our unemployment rate lags behind those of Britain, China, Germany, Japan, and Russia.  For most Americans the recession is over but there are 14.5 million workers who cannot find decent jobs.


While the President might want to suggest a few job-related legislative initiatives, what is paramount is that he establish a compelling theme such as Let's make America work for everyone and follow it with a forceful reiteration of a basic premise: Everyone in America who wants a job should be able to find one.


Obama should throw down the gauntlet and say to Congress: We've stabilized the economy.  Now we need to work together to create more jobs.


To make this point the President should use gripping examples, as he did in Tucson with the story of Christina Green.  He should sprinkle his SOTU remarks with the stories of the unemployed.  Whenever Obama proposes a specific job-creation initiative, he should amplify the content by showing how it would help a jobless American worker.


What the President doesn't say in the SOTU is as important as what he says.  He shouldn't refer to the deficit or the "results" of his Deficit Reduction Commission.  And Obama must avoid being professorial or garrulous.  He should hammer on one theme: Washington needs to solve the jobs crisis.  Americans will understand this and expect Congress to cooperate with Obama.  It will both shift the burden of job-creation initiatives onto the Republican-controlled House and address America's number one problem.


President Obama should seize upon the 2011 State-of-the-Union address as a singular opportunity.

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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