WASHINGTON -- It's become almost daily practice for President Barack Obama to point out the four things he says Congress can pass now to create jobs "immediately," if only lawmakers would act: infrastructure investments, patent reform, free trade deals and a payroll tax cut extension.
But even if all four proposals became law -- a huge "if" with a dug-in House GOP -- it's not clear they would actually create jobs. In fact, the proposals with the best shot of passing Congress appear the least likely to create jobs. One of the most likely to pass, the trade pacts, will probably cost jobs.
Obama has been injecting new urgency into the measures since early July, when he spoke during a press conference that coincided with a dismal monthly jobs report.
"There are bills and trade agreements before Congress right now that could get all these ideas moving," he said at the time. "All of them have bipartisan support. All of them could pass immediately. And I urge Congress not to wait."
He ran through all of the proposals again during a Monday town hall in Minnesota, the first of several to come as part of his Midwest bus tour on the economy this week.
"There is no shortage of ideas to put people to work right now," he told the crowd. "What is needed is action on the part of Congress. A willingness to put the partisan games aside and say, 'We're going to do what's right for the country, not what we think is going to score some political points for the next election.'"
Here's an overview of how each proposal would create jobs, or not, and where it stands in Congress.