Politics
President Barack Obama laughs with an employee during his visit to a Daimler factory in March. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) President Barack Obama laughs with an employee during his visit to a Daimler factory in March. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)  

Obama: His type of economic plan built Detroit

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Also, Obama’s effort to claim credit for Detroit was undermined by the company that provided him the stage for his speech.

“Today, Daimler is announcing a new $120 million investment into this plant, creating 115 good, new union jobs building transmissions and turbochargers right here in Redford,” he said. “You guys will be building all the key parts that go into powering a heavy-duty truck, all at the same facility [and] nobody else in America is doing that…. it’s just the latest example of Daimler’s leadership,” he said.

But Daimler is a German-owned company, and it bought the factory in 2000 after General Motors spun it off in 1988.

Obama’s Dec. 10 claim of government leadership echoed Obama’s controversial campaign-trail downgrade of entrepreneurs’ importance.

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” Obama told a Virginia crowd June 14, while urging tax increases and a larger role for government. “Somebody else made that happen,” Obama declared, highlighting the government’s funding of roads and schools.

In January 20011, Obama also tried to give credit for the U.S. innovative gas-fracking industry, which is spurring U.S. economic growth by providing enormous quantities of cheap natural gas.

“The marketplace needed a nudge here” from government, Obama said at meeting of his jobs and competitiveness council. “Folks are acting as if that [boon] just sprung out of thin air and is one more example of the dynamism of the marketplace,” he complained to the council’s executives.

Despite Obama’s expenditure of $5.7 trillion in borrowed funds, U.S. manufacturing jobs remain roughly 1 million below their 2008 figure of about 13 million.

In November, for example, U.S. food and chemical companies shed another 21,000 manufacturing jobs, although auto-industry jobs gained an estimated 10,000 jobs. .

Yet Obama repeatedly emphasize government’s leading role in economic growth.

“Our success as a country in this new century will be defined by how well we educate our kids, how well we train our workers, how well we invent, how well we innovate, how well we build things like cars and engines,” he said.

“That’s how you bring new jobs back to Detroit. That’s how you bring good jobs back to America. That’s what I’m focused on. That’s what I will stay relentlessly focused on going forward,” he said.

Follow Neil on Twitter