Today President Obama began a 3-day bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The White House says this is a “rural economic bus tour” to hear from Americans affected by the bad economy. And it’s being paid for with taxpayer money. But most of the President’s stump speech is partisan, including attacking the possible Republican nominees and telling the crowd at his first stop in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, “I’m here to enlist you in the fight . . . for the future of our country.” Attacking possible election opponents and asking constituents to help him stay in office really makes it a campaign trip, which must be privately funded.
If you disagree, consider this: Even if there was not going to be an election in 2012, is it wise use of government’s limited resources to drive around three states in a couple of buses? (This includes the purchase of two brand-new buses and fuel for a cargo plane with 3-4 Secret Service vehicles, Air Force One, and the decoy of Air Force One.) What part of the federal budget does this expenditure come from? Could the money have been better spent as a federal grant to some community to fund a few of temporary jobs?
And exactly who is the President hearing from? He’s talking about lack of jobs, but Cannon Falls has an unemployment rate of only 6.8% – more than 2% less than the national average of 9.1%. He should visit my state. Nevada’s unemployment rate has “improved” to 12.4%. If Mr. Obama went to Las Vegas he could listen to people who actually need jobs.
Instead of driving around a few states carefully selected because of their importance to the 2012 election, President Obama should be in Washington, working with his cabinet to have a jobs proposal ready when Congress returns from vacation. An old saying goes, talk is cheap. While this bus tour is costing taxpayers a lot, the talk is still just empty rhetoric. Let’s see some leadership in the form of targeted, detailed plans.