President Obama flies to Buffalo today to trumpet his administration's success in job creation, and to call on Congress to support a $30 billion program to unfreeze credit for small business.
But job growth, while better than the alternative, has been anemic at best -- not even enough to keep the unemployment rate from climbing to 9.9 percent.
And Obama's small-business plan, which critics say is doomed to fail, would at best be one narrowly focused measure when a whole array of aggressive approaches are required.
Indeed, job-creation advocates say Obama just doesn't get it.
So a group of unemployed Buffalo residents is sending Obama a simple message, loud and clear, with a billboard on Interstate 190 that says: "Dear Mr. President, I need a freakin' job. Period."
The billboard is signed inafj.org, and the website also includes a video repeatedly featuring that simple but basic message. (WATCH BELOW.)
UPI spoke to Jeff Baker, the creator of the billboard and website:
"I need a freakin' job. We could fancy this up, put lipstick on it, make it all pretty, but it isn't. The concept of unemployment is isolating," said Baker, whose small business went under 15 months ago.
He said the message targets Obama because he wants the president to take action on unemployment.
"Nothing else matters unless the American people are working," Baker said.
Obama will spend only three hour in Buffalo, mostly to visit Industrial Support Inc., a growing manufacturing company, and to make a speech. It's the latest stop in what the White House is calling his "Main Street" tour.
But as Jill Lawrence writes for Politics Daily, jobs are simply not a big issue for either party right now, despite the obvious signs of how important they will be for voters in the November midterm elections. Lawrence writes:
Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster, said his party is talking about the economy all wrong. In particular he cited party chairman Tim Kaine's plan to sell Democrats as "the party of results" whose policies are working, and Republicans as obstructionists trying to block those policies. "It's no moment for a victory lap and no moment for self-congratulations by politicians," he told me. "People are angry and frustrated. They perceive Democrats have not been attentive on the economy. I'm sure they have been, but not in ways that people would see."
Greenberg's research found that the best message for Democrats is a tight, future-oriented focus on the middle class. In his view, they should say they supported an economic plan that "continues to cut taxes for the middle class" and helps small businesses, and now "we should tax CEO bonuses and Wall Street banks to pay back the taxpayers. Let's finish the job for the middle class."
A 51 percent majority said they would be more likely to vote for a Democrat who made the middle-class argument. Only about four in 10 were similarly persuaded after hearing other Democratic approaches, such as "the economy is growing again and we need time to finish the job."
Obama is not expected to express support for the job-creation bills that progressives are pushing, including Rep. George Miller's.$100 billion Local Jobs for America Act, which would create or save a million jobs, mostly by sending desperately needed money to state and local governments.
Nor is Obama likely to endorse Sen. Tom Harkin's proposed subset of that bill, which would send $23 billion exclusively to local school districts to avoid massive layoffs in the fall.
Both measures are stalled out in Congress, at least in part due to lack of pressure from the White House, and an Obama-abetted, but entirely inappropriate, fear of deficit spending.
And Obama certainly won't talk about anything as radical as direct government employment -- even though that would actually give people some freakin' jobs.
WATCH CBS News's coverage of the Buffalo billboard:
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