Can a President do anything to create jobs?
Yes and no. Fiscal and economic policies, government spending or lack thereof, general confidence, all have an impact on either the number of jobs directly or the economic condition of a country which will influence the number of jobs. But to say that a President is strictly responsible for the jobs created or not created during his administration is folly. International tensions, in particular, tensions involving oil producing countries, can hamper economic growth. A cooperative Congress can help a President pass policies that stimulate job growth; an obstructionist Congress can hinder job growth. Economic conditions abroad, in Europe or Asia, can also help or hinder job growth here.
But here are three things that Obama was primarily responsible for that have helped with job growth:
1. Stimulus. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus was responsible for either the creation or the savings of at least three million jobs during the 2009 to 2011 period. That does not include the multiplier effect, in which people with jobs buy things and keep other people employed.
2. GM Bailout. The estimates of how many jobs were created or saved by the auto bailout, in particular, the GM bailout are from 1 million to 1.7 million. Those jobs are providing at least 8 billion a year in income tax revenue, not counting sales tax revenue, FICA payments, and NO unemployment payments for the people still working. HERE's a decent link explaining some of the issues.
3. Unemployment extensions and payroll tax cuts. How many people have been kept out of abject poverty by up to two years of unemployment compensation? And what was the multiplier effect of those millions of people receiving unemployment compensation.. as well as the multiplier effect of payroll cuts...on the economy as a whole?
Here's Media Matters on the issue from last December quoting studies done by the Economic Policy Institute:
Of the $72 billion increase in GDP related to continuing the unemployment insurance benefit extensions through 2012, some 37.4 percent, or $26.9 billion, would be recouped in higher revenues, as more people and firms pay taxes, and in lower expenditures. Consequently, the effective cost to the budget of continuing the UI benefits extension for a year is $18.1 billion instead of $45 billion. This means that the continuation of unemployment insurance benefit extensions through 2012 would save 560,000 jobs at an effective cost of around $32,000 per position. That alone is a good deal, but when we remember that these expenditures would assist millions of families of the long-term unemployed during the worst downturn in seven decades, the case for continuing the extensions could not be more clear.
Did all of the people complaining about job growth under Obama also complain about job growth under Bush? Job growth under Obama, with much more trying circumstances, is just about the same or a bit ahead of job growth under Bush at a similar time in their respective presidencies. Check out the article.