Perhaps because they knew he was going to propose stimulus spending, Republicans offered to compromise with President Obama on creating jobs—then slammed him as soon as his plans became public. And once again, it seems like the president is doing the compromising.
The AP reports that Obama’s $300 billion jobs package is likely to include a proposal for $170 billion in tax cuts—the GOP’s favorite form of stimulus for the rich—and unemployment benefits extension. The former, economists have said, do little to stimulate the economy, and the latter—while it does alleviate the pain of the long-term unemployed—does little to get them jobs.
On that front, the White House is “considering” a tax credit for employers who hire the unemployed—perhaps to offset the discrimination now faced by the long-term unemployed. Yet employers, who are squeezing more productivity out of fewer workers, have cash on hand and are mainly waiting for consumer demand to increase before they start hiring.
A small portion of Obama’s package, under $50 billion, is expected to be stimulus, including money for public works.
But as we’ve reported previously, infrastructure spending and direct hiring are what many economists see as the best way to get people back on payrolls—and simultaneously raise revenue. Money almost immediately goes back into the economy with each person paying payroll taxes.
Meanwhile, others are touting their own jobs plans. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said this week he wants to cut taxes and drill more oil. Members of the Democratic caucus want to hire young people to work on Hurricane Irene clean up. The Congressional Black Caucus spent the last couple of months connecting employers and the unemployed in a series of job fairs.
But as Colorlines’ Kai Wright wrote, Washington’s impotent response to a jobs crisis of this scale—14 million out of work; nearly 17 percent of African Americans—it’s hard to believe that anyone in Washington even cares about those struggling to make ends meet each day.