An impressive list of officials flanked the president at last week’s “Winning the Future” forum in Cleveland. Mr. Obama was joined by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor and Energy, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee, and the National Economic Council’s Gene Sperling. The purpose of the meeting was to listen to business owners, and to come up with ideas to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
You do not fly an entourage of Washington bigwigs to Ohio so they can sit and nod politely. The president left room for a few remarks, despite his assurance that “I did not come to Cleveland to talk. Instead I came here to listen.”  Mr. Obama is intent on selling the Winning the Future agenda, the Democrats-only plan to extend the Recovery Act, and to spend America into prosperity (see: The Democratic Scheme for Your Future).
The word “infrastructure” was not used in the president’s opening remarks, perhaps because of the association with depression-era New Deal projects, and his own failed Recovery Act programs. Public works projects are exactly what they sound like, no matter how hard you try to portray them as something else:
We can invest in the things that are critical to our long-term success — in innovation, so that America stays on the cutting edge; in education, so businesses have access to the skilled workers that they need; in upgrading our transportation and information networks, so companies can move goods and services quickly and cheaply. 
If this sounds familiar, it should. The agenda has not changed, even after two years of failing to create jobs. During the president’s first weekly address in January 2009, he advocated for Recovery Act infrastructure spending:
That’s why this is not just a short-term program to boost employment. It’s one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century. 
In March 2009, the president and vice-president talked of the $28 billion spent for highways.  One month later the topic was the billions expended for high-speed rail:
And our strategy has two parts: improving our existing rail lines to make current train service faster — so Rob can, you know, shave a few hours over the course of a week — but also identifying potential corridors for the creation of world-class high-speed rail. To make this happen, we’ve already dedicated $8 billion of Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to this initiative, and I’ve requested another $5 billion over the next five years. 
Cyber security spending is an old one, too, discussed during May 2009’s “Remarks on Securing U.S. Cyber Infrastructure.” Topping the list of beneficiaries for the 2011 version of cyber security are government agencies and critical infrastructure. The private sector comes last. 
Throughout the early days of 2009 the president told us what we would get for our Recovery Act spending: lots of jobs, created by an agenda based on union labor and government-run projects:
More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector – jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit. 
For the billions spent and untold promises made, not much happened. The jobs never came. Word from Washington is that our infrastructure is still “crumbling.”  What we did create was a larger deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reported that the Recovery Act added $579 billion to the deficits for 2009 and 2010. 
By slapping a forward-looking label on the same failed initiatives we were sold two years ago, the president hopes to revive costly stimulus projects with promises of a brighter future. Talk of securing American competitiveness in the global economy by dumping billions into infrastructure projects smears lipstick on a pig that is already caked in rouge. We have heard all of this before, too many times.
Mr. President, whatever your intentions may be, you are not helping. Please keep your hands off of our economy.
1..The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Remarks by the President at Opening Session of Winning the Future Forum on Small Business in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio. February 22, 2011. http://www.whitehouse.gov.
3..Weekly Address. Remarks of President Barack Obama. Remarks on Transportation Infrastructure. Saturday, January 24, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov.
4..The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Remarks by the President and the Vice President on Transportation Infrastructure. March 3, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov.
5..The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Remarks on Transportation Infrastructure. April 16, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov.
6..United States Senator for Nevada Harry Reid. Reid, Senate Democrats Roll out Agenda for Winning the Future by Cutting Spending, Creating High-Paying Jobs and Keeping America Competitive. February 16, 2011. http://reid.senate.gov.
7..Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery. Address to Joint Session of Congress. Tuesday, February 24th, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov.
8..The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Remarks by the President on Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure. October 11, 2010. http://www.whitehouse.gov.
9..Congressional Budget Office. The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2011 to 2021. January 2011. p. 12.