On Tuesday, the Chattanooga Times Free Press had a simple message for President Obama, who spoke there earlier in the day.
“Take your jobs plan and shove it,” said an editorial aimed directly at Obama.
The Free Press editorial board said Chattanooga, Tenn., is “one of hundreds of cities throughout this great nation struggling to succeed in spite of your foolish policies that limit job creation, stifle economic growth and suffocate the entrepreneurial spirit.”
And the editorial goes downhill from there, laying the blame directly at Obama’s feet.
“You see, we understand you are in town to share your umpteenth different job creation plan during your time in office. If it works as well as your other job creation programs, then thanks, but no thanks. We’d prefer you keep it to yourself,” the editorial added.
The editorial said that Obama’s previous plans have “included a ridiculous government spending spree and punitive tax increase on job creators that were passed, as well as a minimum wage increase that, thankfully, was not.”
The article said that while 64 percent of respondents in a local poll said they didn’t want Obama to visit the city, it was probably good that he did, in order to see the results of his policies “up close and personal.”
The editorial cited what it called “a $552 million socialist-style experiment in government-owned Internet, cable and phone services orchestrated by EPB — Chattanooga’s government-owned electric monopoly,” otherwise known as the “Gig to Nowhere” project.
While the project cost taxpayers well over a half-billion dollars, the paper said area residents have seen “little improvement in the quality of EPB’s electric service.”
“Worse,” the editors added, “despite being heavily subsidized, EPB’s government-owned Internet, cable and telephone outfit that competes head-to-head against private companies like AT&T and Comcast is barely staying afloat, often relying on loans from electric service reserve funds to afford its business expenses.”
The end result of the project, the Free Press said, was higher debt and the very real possibility of increased electrical costs.
While speaking at the Amazon fulfillment center Tuesday, Obama said that unemployment would be at 6.5 percent and the economy would be much better if there were more government employees.
“If those layoffs had not happened, if public sector employees grew like they did in the past two recessions, the unemployment rate would be 6.5 instead of 7.5,” he said.
But the editors at the Free Press have a different opinion.
“So excuse us, Mr. President, for our lack of enthusiasm for your new jobs program. Here in Chattanooga we’re still reeling from your old one,” they wrote.
Update: Drew Johnson, the editor who wrote the piece at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, was fired over the headline. Details here.
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