On the President's speech on "jobs" (the main focus of which, to me, seemed to be keeping his and those of his cronies) --you can find the text of the speech in its entirety here.
It is good to remember in reading the speech that somewhere between 10% and 20% of working age citizens are out of work. The level of unemployment rises with the level the of lack of education; i.e. a higher percentage of people without high school diplomas are out of work than those with PhD's in nuclear physics or chemistry. On the other hand, 80 to 90% of Americans are employed.
The president seeks to address the needs of the 10-20% because it's some sign that some employment "compact" between workers and their employers has "eroded."
Well, erosion is caused by something - and in this case, we have laid off home building workers because the market for new housing tanked. Why did that market tank? Because the greedy home builders decided they would make more money without workers? Because of government policies that encouraged lending money to any Tom, Susie and Harry who walked into a loan office? Who caused the housing market to tank? Home construction workers are just one example - you can fill in other jobs impacted by government policies.
The President's favorite rhetorical device is the "straw man" argument. For example, "I'm also well aware that there are many Republicans who don't believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary - an outrage he has asked us to fix. We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share." What this argument ignores is the almost 50% of the population who pay no income tax, due to "loopholes" passed for their benefit. Indeed, some Americans not only pay no income tax, they receive "credit" (such as the "earned income credit") that may cause them to receive a "refund" of tax they didn't pay. Is this a great country or what? And the basis for a "fair" tax system is that "you can afford it?" What's the old communist saw? "From each according to his means . . .?"
More straw men: "Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.***But what we can't do — what I won't do — is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy.***In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone's money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they're on their own — that's not who we are. That's not the story of America." Now, honestly, have you heard any rational opponent of the President demanding a choice between "jobs and safety" or rolling back "rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury?" Or any of the other straw men he tossed out there?
My favorite non sequitur in the speech was this gem: "Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we're going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?" Really? Does he mean we are going to build China's "newer airports and faster railroads" right here in America? Or does he mean somehow that China's airport and railroad construction has anything at all to do with whether or not we choose to build our own newer airports and etc.?
Some where along the way, I got reminded of this scene from "The Jerk"
Navin has an excuse for his wrongly drawn conclusions, though.