Back-to-school week in Washington kicked off a renewed focus on the economy as President Barack Obama released plans for federal investment in transportation and called for tax breaks for businesses.
The announcement addresses jobs, one of the many if not the most polarizing issue in the upcoming midterm elections.
Obama's critics, ranging from economists to Republican lawmakers to his former White House budget director Peter Orzag, panned the strategy, which includes getting rid of Bush-era tax cuts for the rich.
Orzag later told The Washington Post that he only favors extending tax cuts for the rich to secure a deal that would eventually get rid of them.
Regardless of the criticism, the question of what Obama is trying to accomplish and the administration's overall messaging is unclear. Even Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, notably remarked last week that the President “has not effectively communicated” on jobs and the economy.
The Chamber of Commerce, long at battle with the administration over issues relating to jobs and business, launched a new phase of its “Campaign for Free Enterprise” by asking young Americans to submit answers to five key questions, the first of which is: “Do you believe that our free enterprise system is currently threatened?”
Simplifying complex issues like the economy, job creation, tax cuts, and the stimulus is difficult yet the Chamber identified five questions that address these issues. Communications leaders speak often about taking difficult messages and boiling them down to key issues that a patient, a consumer, or a user can understand.
Perhaps borrowing a tactic from Corporate America would most benefit the administration when it looks to communicate with its constituents on complex issues.