Econintersect: President Obama has proposed a jobs initiative in an address to a joint session of Congress. Speaking Thursday evening Sept. 8, the president laid out a plan that he claimed contained many elements that have received bipartisan support in the past and should not be controversial. Obama said that the cost of the jobs bill that he will present to Congress, named the “American Jobs Act,” should be paid for by offsets to be defined by the Congressional supercommittee of twelve that is charged with coming up with a plan by the end of this year to come up with $1.5 trillion in budget savings. The cost of the president’s plan is expected to be around $450 billion, according to CBS News. The Huffington Post, The New York Times and Reuters put the number at $447 billion.The elements of the proposal and the cost of each are:
- Extension and increase of the payroll tax cut for employees, $175 billion;
- Payroll tax reduction for businesses, designed to favor small business, $50 billion;
- Extension of extended jobless benefits, $50 billion;
- Aid to schools to retain teachers and add additional ones, $35 billion;
- School construction and infrastructure renovation, $90 billion;and
- “Project Rebuild” to rehab vacant and foreclosed homes, $15 billion.
The total of the above components (collected from all the sources listed below) is only $415 billion. GEI News has not yet been able to identify where the other $32 billion will be directed. The New York Times gave the total of the first two items as $240 billion which would reduce the unknown program targets to $17 billion.
The package is less than half directed at job creation. The first two items ($225 billion) are totally tax reductions. The third item, continuation of extended unemployment benefits, also does not directly create any jobs. The fourth item appears largely directed at preventing job losses. That leaves only the last two items ($115 billion) which are actually pure job creation proposals.
According to The New York Times he all but ordered Congress to pass the legislation. From the NYT:
“You should pass this jobs plan right away,” the president declared.
With Republicans already lining up to condemn the plan, Mr. Obama said, “The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.”
Fox News said:
But top Republicans wonder why it took nearly three years to convey this urgency. They suspect the timing has more to do with the president now trying to save his own job.
“The president’s so-called jobs plan is to try those very same policies again and then accuse anyone who doesn’t support them this time around of being political or overtly partisan, of not doing what’s needed in this moment of crisis,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. “This isn’t a jobs plan. It’s a re-election plan.”
The Reuters website could not be reached at the time this was posted so we report no information from them beyond their headline of $447 billion.
Editor’s note: GEI will be posting Analysis Blog and Opinion Blog articles discussing the proposed American Jobs Act in the coming days.