One Depressing Paragraph: The Times looks at the White House's thinking on the economy:
Mr. Obama's senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.
The message I got from that piece is that Obama really has no plans to "pivot to jobs" in any meaningful way. There's a real point to be made that Obama is limited (though not totally stymied) by House Republicans. It's one of the reasons anything dubbing itself a "poverty tour" should begin by targeting vulnerable GOP districts, and registering voters in those districts. Still, unemployment in African-American communities is somewhere around 16 percent. From what I can tell, the argument that these people should support Obama seems to be "Vote Democratic, or your life will get even worse." Not the stuff of inspiration, but it does have the virtue of likely being true.
The heartbreaking thing is that the executive branch could do a lot to boost the economy right now by supporting the housing market--and we will wish in five years that right now we had been building a million houses a year rather than only five-hundred thousand.
But as one former senior policymaker said to me last week: The thing about Bernanke and Geithner is that they believe that bold action is only needed if there is a crisis in which lots of money-center banks are about to fail, otherwise they are status-quo players...