published Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Obama to propose $300 billion to jump-start jobs

Rep. John Larsen, D-Conn., left, and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., right, listen as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks about creating jobs, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.
Rep. John Larsen, D-Conn., left, and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., right, listen as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks about creating jobs, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.
Photo by Associated Press.

By JIM KUHNHENN and DAVID ESPO, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The economy weak and the public seething, President Barack Obama is expected to propose $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending Thursday night to get Americans working again. Republicans offered Tuesday to compromise with him on jobs — but also assailed his plans in advance of his prime-time speech.

In effect, Obama will be hitting cleanup on a shortened holiday week, with Republican White House contender Mitt Romney releasing his jobs proposals on Tuesday and front-running Texas Gov. Rick Perry hoping to join his presidential rivals Wednesday evening on a nationally televised debate stage for the first time.

Lawmakers began returning to the Capitol to tackle legislation on jobs and federal deficits in an unforgiving political season spiced by the 2012 presidential campaign.

Adding to the mix: A bipartisan congressional committee is slated to hold its first public meeting on Thursday as it embarks on a quest for deficit cuts of $1.2 trillion or more over a decade. If there is no agreement, automatic spending cuts will take effect, a prospect that lawmakers in both parties have said they would like to avoid.

According to people familiar with the White House deliberations, two of the biggest measures in the president’s proposals for 2012 are expected to be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits. Together those two would total about $170 billion.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan was still being finalized and some proposals could still be subject to change.

The White House is also considering a tax credit for businesses that hire the unemployed. That could cost about $30 billion. Obama has also called for public works projects, such as school construction. Advocates of that plan have called for spending of $50 billion, but the White House proposal is expected to be smaller.

Obama also is expected to continue for one year a tax break for businesses that allows them to deduct the full value of new equipment. The president and Congress negotiated that provision into law for 2011 last December.

Though Obama has said he intends to propose long-term deficit reduction measures to cover the up-front costs of his jobs plan, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would not lay out a wholesale deficit reduction plan in his speech.

In a letter to Obama on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor outlined possible areas for compromise on jobs legislation. Separately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last month’s unemployment report — it showed a painfully persistent 9.1 percent jobless rate and no net gain of jobs — “should be a wakeup call to every member of Congress.”

Whatever the potential for eventual compromise on the issue at the top of the public’s agenda, the finger pointing was already under way.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell predicted Obama’s Thursday night speech to Congress on jobs legislation would include “more of the same failed approach that’s only made things worse over the past few years.”

He spoke a few moments after Reid had said that Republicans, rather than working with Democrats to create job-creating legislation, insist on “reckless cuts to hurt our economic recovery.”

The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday after an August recess. The House comes back Wednesday.

Left largely ignored in the latest political remarks was a remarkable run of late-summer polls that show the country souring on Obama’s performance — and on Congress’ even more.

A Washington Post-ABC survey released Monday found that 60 percent of those polled expressed disapproval of Obama’s handling of the economy. Thirty-four percent said his proposals were making the situation worse and 47 percent said they were having no effect — dismal soundings for a president headed into a re-election campaign.

Only 19 percent said the country was moving in the right direction.

Not that Republicans, or Congress as a whole, are in good odor with the voters.

The Post-ABC News poll found only 28 percent approval for the job the Republicans are doing, and 68 percent disapproval.

An AP-GfK survey last month put overall support for Congress at 12 percent — the lowest level ever in the survey’s history.

The tea party has also been hurt, according to the same poll, which found that 32 percent of those surveyed have a deeply unfavorable impression of the movement that helped give Republicans control of the House in the 2010 elections.

In their letter to Obama, Boehner and Cantor wrote that neither party would win all it wants from the coming debate over jobs legislation. “We should not approach this as an all-or-nothing situation,” they said, striking a conciliatory tone in the first moments of a post-summer session of Congress.

But it was unclear what, if any, concessions they were prepared to make.

“We are not opposed to initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure,” they wrote, saying they favor repeal of a current requirement for 10 percent of highway funds to be spent on items such as museums or bike trails.

But they did not say they would support any additional funding for construction, and aides declined to provide any additional details.

Boehner and Cantor also said the House was ready to pass free trade agreements negotiated with Colombia, Panama and South Korea measures, which they noted the White House estimates would create 250,000 jobs.

The administration wants the trade deals approved simultaneously with legislation to provide job training and other benefits for workers who lose their job to imports, and the letter from the Republican leaders promised they would consider such measures rather than pledging to pass them.

There was maneuvering on another front during the day.

Democrats won approval in a Senate subcommittee for legislation adding $6 billion in spending to pay victims of Hurricane Irene and past disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina, including $4 billion for the 2012 budget year.

Republicans did not object, even though the legislation did not include other cuts to offset the cost and the new spending would exceed levels permitted in a sweeping compromise passed last month to cut future deficits by nearly $1 trillion over a decade.

It is unclear when the measure will come to the Senate floor, and whether Republicans will attempt to offset the increase when it does.

In comments in recent weeks, Cantor has said any increase must be offset.

For his part, Romney chose Nevada, where unemployment stood at a nationwide high of 12.9 percent in July, for a campaign speech in which he outlined numerous proposals to create jobs.

He called for lowering the maximum corporate tax from 35 percent to 25 percent and abolishing the tax on dividends and investment earnings for anyone making less than $200,000 a year. He also said any new government regulation that raises costs for businesses should be accompanied by other steps to reduce the burden by an identical amount.

“America should be a job machine, jobs being created all the time,” he said.

The elements Romney outlined — lower taxes and less regulation — are the same as those advanced by Republicans in Congress.

McConnell said Republicans “will spend the next weeks and months arguing in favor of a robust legislation agenda aimed at blocking or repealing some of the most pernicious rules and regulations.”

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joneses said...

Hussien Obama already spent over 800 billion dollars to ceate jobs and it did not work. Why would Hussien think spending more would help. By the way spending money on building roads and bridges creates temporary work and does not create permanent jobs.

September 7, 2011 at 7:15 a.m.
Gump said...

Because tax cuts for the uber-rich, deregulation, and spending cuts have done wonders for the economy already, haven't they? They just need another decade or two to kick in!

(By the way, nice little bigoted jab at the president's middle name. What are you, 9?)

I don't understand how this is so complicated. It's all a matter of supply and demand.

There is a high supply of workers, but a low demand from employers, because demand for their products is low, because people are out of work. Without new demand, entropy takes hold. If people are going to get hired, there needs to be demand. Isn't that what this is proposing? People get hired, they get money, they can buy stuff again, and more people can get hired.

Plus, as a side benefit, we fix our crumbling infrastructure, which frankly is worth a deficit increase. (Not that Republicans really care about the deficit as anything more than a weapon. Virtually everything they've opposed, from the health care law to getting the top 1% to pay their fair share, would have been good for the deficit, according to the CBO.)

Focusing exclusively on corporate profits only takes workers out of the equation. Why hire more people when you can make a profit without them? People are out of work all so they can make a few extra hundred million.

September 7, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
elkhart007 said...

Businesses don't need any more incentives to hire people. They aren't going to hire people if there's no demand and efficiency has increased, albeit forced. Consumer demand has righted itself, we were in a period of glutinous consumption, the price of the needs of life has increased so we can't afford so many wants anymore so the economy is down. The class gap needs to be closed to allow redistribution of wealth, not force it. The rich need to be taxed and rightly so, people of middle class and below don't need anymore tax breaks. Some people are even a tax burden, that should probably be eliminated.

September 7, 2011 at 11:23 a.m.
najones75 said...

This is going to be so easy, and a little fun:

Where have you seen spending cuts, Gump?

You got one part right....I don't understand how this is so complicated. But the supply and demand analogy is hilarious. Why would anyone want to expand their business (not just the uber-rich...class warfare, by the way)...when they don't know yet if that is going to increase their taxes? Why do the extra work just to give it up to the government?

Its the same with American society these days. Why go out there and try to make a good living for yourself, if you have it taken away from you and given to someone else. In the same boat, why go out there and work your arse off when you can just have the government take it from some one else and give it to you?

You see where I'm going here? Is it THAT complicated for you?

"we fix our crumbling infrastructure, which frankly is worth a deficit increase"

As Gump would say, stupid is as stupid does. Have you paid any attention to what's going on in this nation? Do you realize the debt crisis that we have? Do you not know that we've tried 2 "stimulus" packages with utter failure? You remember, right? "Shovel ready jobs"? We've had our national credit down graded. We've increased the debt limit to absurd levels. And yet you want more spending? Is it THAT complicated for you?

The health care law would have been good for the deficit? AGAIN, you can't out spend what you take in. 1 + 1 does not equal 3. Another entitlement program is not the solution to our debt problem. Its the REASON for our debt problem. We spend too much money trying to run everyone elses lives and not our own. According to the CBO and liberals, social security and medicare are sustainable. When in fact if nothing is done, there will be no SS or medicare AT ALL. Is it THAT complicated for you!

Just a question: How much is "fair"? You hear this all the time...if they would pay their "fair" share. I would just like to hear the % of what liberals think is "fair". Is it "fair" for the bottom 50% to pay absolutely nothing? And at the same time get freebies left and right from normal people like myself?

"People are out of work all so they can make a few extra hundred million."

Class warfare, pure and simple. You're ticked off because you are jealous that someone has more than you. Now, they worked their tail off to get didn't...but, you want the same thing they have. Pathetic.

Myself...I'm going to go out there and try to do better for myself. But, then again, why would I want to do that when the government is just going to take it from me to give to some parasite.

Is it THAT complicated??

September 7, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
Gump said...

Wow, so much to unpack, I don't know where to start.

We have the lowest taxes in fifty years and record profits for corporations, and it hasn't made businesses more willing to hire. Likewise, it's not as if higher taxes in the 50's and 60's stopped the existence of millionaires.

What really happens when corporate tax rates fall? The burden for our society falls on the rest of us. We have to pay bills, mortgages, car payments, plus taxes, all while left to fend for ourselves for healthcare. Meanwhile the rich have no obligations to anybody. Adam Smith recommended just the opposite in The Wealth of Nations.

Without short-term spending, I don't see how we get future revenue. Wealth is created, isn't it? If there's demand from the government to produce, they produce; people make money, that money can be taxed in moderate amounts, and the debt can be paid.

Don't believe me? Just look at what happened in World War II: one massive industrial stimulus. You think they cared about incurring debt?

Why do you think we had a record surplus before Bush's tax cuts?

"Is it "fair" for the bottom 50% to pay absolutely nothing? And at the same time get freebies left and right from normal people like myself?"

And you're the one telling me there's no class warfare? When you yourself show such resentment for the least among us? Where's your resentment for corporate tax shelters, and loopholes, or the massive subsidies and bailouts they get from the government? No, they'd rather turn you against the little guy.

Besides, it's a lie that 50% pay no taxes. No income taxes, true. It would be cruel to tax them. But there's also payroll taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, as well as the basic cost of living.

I'm trying to make an honest living just like you, except that the cost of living keeps going up, and occasional emergencies take a bite out of the bank account. I don't even want to be wealthy, just comfortable, able to rely on myself. Why shouldn't I resent it when there are CEO's and Wall St. tycoons who've never done an honest day's work in their lives making record billions without an ounce of sacrifice? Why don't you?

Did a CEO grow your food? Did a millionaire build your house? Did Wall St. investors set up your electrical grid? How much work do you think the rich actually do? Inheritance isn't work, and I'm not sure gaming the stock market is, either. Do you think they've ever had to worry about bills?

Know what the real class warfare is? It's when the rich abuse their wealth by buying off politicians; docking pay and benefits; lowering wages while raising their bonuses; exploiting cheap foreign labor; leaving dangerous bacteria in our food; polluting our water and air; or funding networks that tell why you should resent those who have nothing.

Then there's the whole "Blow all our money on toxic mortgages, and let everybody else pay for it" thing.

Oh, but don't call it class warfare. Got it.

September 7, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.


i think its pretty obvious your in the lower 50%. Which makes you an idiot. You'll comment on here about how your hard earned money is being taken. In truth you should give more. You clearly do not appreciate the need to look out for your fellow man. Is there going to be individuals that abuse the system? Always. Is it unfair for one person to work more than another? some will say yes and some will say no. Greed lead us to where we are. Sitting there complaining because your doing well and shouldn't have to give any thing back to help stitch a broken system (which was broken by your like minded wealthy class). This is America pal the greatest country in the world! Our existence insures a better tomorrow.all your greed won't matter if we fail as a country you moron!

September 27, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
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