"We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere."
President Obama needs to give his jobs speech again. This time he should start in the middle.
To addressing the American people's concerns and to win in 2012, the President needs a narrative--a story that explains how and why we got into this mess, what he has done to help so far, and how his latest proposals might help get the economy out of a ditch.
The good news: Thursday's jobs speech contained the beginnings of a powerful story about the need to restore U.S. competitiveness. As Obama said:
"We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build, and out-educate, and out-innovate every other country on Earth."
The bad news: Obama buried this nascent narrative in the second half of the speech. What's more, most of his proposals last night--including the payroll tax cut--did not directly attack the competitiveness problem he identified.
Obama must do better than that. He should be telling the story of how America got distracted--by 9/11, by political infighting, and by excessive confidence. He should be explaining how we allowed ourselves to emphasize consumption and the present, rather than production and the future. And he should link each of his policy proposals to the idea of rebuilding the production economy.