Michael Barone | Obama Economy Emphasis Is All Talk

We have a president who loves to give campaign speeches to adoring crowds, but who doesn’t seem to have much interest in governing.

That was apparent Wednesday, when Barack Obama delivered the first of several promised “pivot to the economy” speeches at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., where he spoke eight years ago as a newly elected U.S. senator.

The hour-long speech started off with some characteristic self-referencing — he didn’t have gray hair then, he noted, or a motorcade — and ended with a quotation from Galesburg native Carl Sandburg.

But in between there was not much in the way of serious public policy. Nothing much that seems likely to speed up the nation’s sluggish economic growth or to increase the lowest-in-three-decades labor force participation.

Obama called for increasing the minimum wage. That always tests well in polls. But in real life it tends not to create but to destroy jobs, especially for young people with few skills and little work experience.



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