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Jobs Program: 'Grand Bargain' in Different Clothes?

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s jobs plan could be much more than that. He may actually make another run at striking the “grand bargain” with Republicans. The plan will be unveiled some time after Labor Day.
Here’s the dilemma, and the president’s solution: The White House believes the stagnated economy needs to be stimulated. But “stimulus” is a dirty word in Washington with many Republicans arguing the first stimulus didn’t work. So, to get some short term spending to spur the economy, the president could try to give Republicans some of the long term deficit reduction they desire, especially structural changes to entitlements including Medicare and Medicaid.
White House officials say by offering such a plan, it would be difficult for Republicans to oppose it.
So is the president’s job program really the “grand bargain” in different clothes? The White House calls the short and long term efforts two different plans. But it may not be able to get one without the other.
“The president continues to believe there is something serious that we can do and can get done around addressing our long-term deficit challenges.  But these are -- the president views this as -- these are two different things here,” Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday in Martha’s Vineyard.
Jobs, the White House says, is job number one for the president. “The president's chief priority here is to strengthen our economy, to create jobs, and to support the private sector’s efforts on that -- in that regard,” Earnest said.
Even though the president will offer up new stimulus plans, the White House won’t call it stimulus.
But, the vice president said the economy needs stimulus as he returned from Asia. But when asked if the president agrees, the deputy press secretary would not use the word stimulus. “The president believes that there are certain things that the government can do to support the private sector as they lead this recovery,” Earnest said.
Bottom-line; expect the president to ask for stimulus, a lot more stimulus. And expect him to offer up long term cuts to spending, and structural changes to entitlements, and tax reform in an effort to get the Republicans on board. It sounds a lot like the “grand bargain.”
 Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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