‘The simplest question,” Dick Cheney writes in his memoir In My Time, “is the most important one.” He mentions this in the context of asking how many American nukes were aimed at Kiev during the Cold War. For President Obama, with job growth stuck near zero, the simplest question is a domestic one. How do you think jobs are created?
This has never been asked of Obama and never answered, so far as I know. And chances are he won’t answer it definitively when he unveils his new jobs program before a joint session of Congress this week.
But there are big clues from his prior policies and the batch of ideas now emanating from the White House. The president believes government is the premier job creator. Why? One reason is government understands markets better than the private sector, so long as the right people are in charge, like Obama himself.
“You can’t just make money on SUVs and trucks,” he said at a town hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, on August 15. “As gas prices keep going up, you’ve got to understand the market.” Having bailed out Chrysler and GM, he instructed them to invest in electric cars and added, “We put investments” in advanced batteries. “It creates jobs.”
There you have it. U.S. auto companies would be producing more SUVs and trucks, both popular with car buyers, and fewer electric cars if Obama hadn’t intervened. That practically nobody, except the federal government, is lining up to buy electric cars—that’s seemingly irrelevant to the president. What’s important is that Obama—government—knows what’s best for the future of the auto industry.