(Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
New York Rep. Nydia Velasquez played surrogate for President Obama Friday when she told a crowd in downtown Manhattan that passage of the $447 billion American Jobs Act would create 70,000 new jobs in the Big Apple.
The congresswoman’s appearance before supporters gathered at the steps of New York’s City Hall is part of an overarching White House strategy to use Democratic lawmakers, like Velasquez, to build grassroots support in their home states for the president’s jobs plan.
The White House believes that hard numbers resonate with the public. That’s why they’ve provided Velasquez and other surrogates extremely precise job estimates to pass along to their constituents.
In her remarks Friday, Velasquez said the proposed jobs act would create exactly 27,516 construction jobs. New York City’s small businesses would add 15,769 jobs and 16,696 new jobs would be created for low-income workers.
“All these things together will increase economic activity and spur hiring,” she said.
President Obama himself was only slightly less precise this past Wednesday while stumping for his jobs plan in the Tarheel State. He told a friendly audience at North Carolina State University that his plan would provide jobs for 19,000 idle construction workers and save the jobs of as many as 13,000 of the state’s teachers, police and firefighters.
“If you love me” he said, “you got to help me pass this bill.”
All told, the president said, the American Jobs Act will create some 1.5 million jobs. He also said it will stimulate a 2 percent growth in the nation’s gross domestic product.
But what neither the president, Rep. Velasquez nor other of the president’s surrogates acknowledge is that the last big spending plan the president stumped for, the $800 billion stimulus, fell well short of the promised economic growth and job creation.
The overly optimistic Obama administration predicted that the stimulus would create roughly 3.5 million jobs two years and cap the nation’s unemployment rate at no more than 8.5 percent.
In fact, the economy actually suffered a net decrease in jobs a year after the stimulus was enacted and the unemployment remained well above 8.5 percent, as it does today.
The latest polls suggest that the American people doubt President Obama’s jobs plan will prove any more successful than his stimulus package of two years ago. That includes a Bloomberg poll, released this past Wednesday, in which 51 percent of respondents said they did not believe the $447 billion plan would yield the job creation the president and his surrogates predict.