A few weeks ago, Internet overlord Arianna Huffington wondered whether rising unemployment would become President Obama’s “Katrina.” “Just as Katrina exposed critical weaknesses in the priorities and competence of the Bush administration,” she wrote on her influential and immensely trafficked site, “the unfolding unemployment disaster is threatening to do the same for the Obama White House.” It wasn’t long before reports showed job losses sharply declining, but unemployment still remains a top political and economic concern for the Obama administration. So it’s interesting that Obama utilized a flood metaphor in explaining his jobs strategy in a speech at the Brookings Institute earlier today.
“Even though we have reduced the deluge of job losses to a relative trickle,” Obama said, “we are not yet creating jobs at a pace to help all those families who’ve been swept up in the flood.” Was it a subtle dog-whistle to Huffites, or simply a good-fitting metaphor for a president who likes metaphors? We don’t know. More importantly, Obama detailed his plan for using the $200 billion left over from TARP to combat unemployment: more infrastructure investment, tax cuts for small businesses, and rebates for people who make their homes energy efficient. Of course, he still needs Congress to approve the package, at which point it’ll probably be totally watered down and have something to do with abortion.