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Obama’s Fair Deal

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How does President Obama’s American Jobs Act compare to Harry Truman’s Fair Deal?

This week Barack Obama will have a difficult job selling his American Jobs Act to the Republicans. He’s not likely to meet with much success, but that’s not unexpected. His address to Congress last week was really aimed at the American people — 14 million of which are out of work, and many millions more are struggling to make ends meet.

So America is in a tough place — rising unemployment, low spending, high debt. The President’s US$447 billion American Jobs Act aims to tackle the problem, but Tom Switzer, a research associate at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, suggests it’s really a piece of political manoeuvring. Obama is placing himself in a position to make the 2012 election a referendum on a “do nothing” congress. He will be able to say, “at least I tried!”

In this edition of BTalk we discuss how it has shades of Harry Truman after the war. The US economy was in a state, and his Fair Deal package was remarkably similar to Obama’s American Jobs Act. The difference was Truman hadn’t already burnt a lot of cash on an earlier stimulus program. Another difference might be that the Fair Deal got Truman re-elected.

First published on CBS News

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