brian.jpgFor many of the unemployed out there, President Obama had to sound like a job messiah last night. But he was more Brian Cohen than Jesus Christ. (You know Brian, the guy mistaken for the Messiah in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.”)

“Jobs must be our number one focus for 2010,” the Obama said during the State of the Union address. “I’m calling for a new job’s bill.”

That statement may have gotten many desperate Americans rolling their eyes because few have felt the impact of the old job’s bill.

The president spent a lot of time appeasing Wall Street and corporations, but I don’t know if he went far enough to inspire those in the middle class.

As you can imagine, the Right and the Left came out with their own spins of the night:

Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the biggest unions in the country:

“Tonight, President Obama gave a dramatic reminder of why so many of us joined his unprecedented call for change two years ago. The fact is, this president’s priorities—creating millions of new jobs, reforming our broken healthcare system, and holding accountable the parties that crashed our economy in the first place—are our priorities. They’re the priorities of the men and women across this country who get up each morning with no greater hope or desire than to provide decent lives for themselves and their kids.”

Pamela Villarreal, senior policy analyst, National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative thinktank:

“While these proposals may be designed to help the ‘middle class,’ they will likely impose onerous costs on small businesses, and shrink the distribution of the population that actually pays federal income tax. The bottom 50 percent of earners already pay less than 3 percent of federal income taxes. And with government eventually realizing the need for revenue, it is likely that a ‘tax the rich’ scheme will follow.”

I’m not sure we all heard the same speech. But I digress.

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, most of us seem to agree that there’s a big problem with job opportunities for many in the middle class and something’s got to be done.

One guy that always seems to make sense to me is Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration. He didn’t disappoint me today with his Huffington Post blog entry on the State of the Union.

Reich called Obama’s ideas sensible but said they would do little to create jobs.

And he also took a shot at the President’s plans to freeze government spending:

Wall Street is delighted. But it means Main Street is in worse trouble than ever. A pending freeze will make it even harder to get jobs back because government is the last spender around. Consumers have pulled back, investors won’t do much until they know consumers are out there, and exports are miniscule.

We don’t really know what will come out of this speech yet. As expected, these moments are more about rallying the troops than details. But hopefully there will be some real initiatives to create jobs.

Are you hopeful?

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