The President’s Jobs Plan: Is It Enough, and Can it Get Through Congress?

See update below.

In broad strokes, President Obama last night outlined a $447 billion plan to bolster the economy and create new jobs.

Over half the cost comes from tax cuts for workers and small businesses. The balance is in spending on infrastructure repairs and improvements, especially to schools; at least 35,000 of them, the President said to a joint session of Congress. (The full text of his speech is here.)

He proposed a $4,000 tax credit for hiring long-term unemployed workers, and other credits for hiring veterans. He called for extending unemployment benefits and providing money to states to pay teachers, rather than lay them off.

A call for Congress to act quicky

If adopted, businesses would have the payroll tax breaks adopted in 2010 extended and even expanded to cover not only new hires, but salary increases, too. He also promised that companies doing business with the federal government would get paid faster for their work.

Homeowners will get help refinancing their mortgage to take advantage of low rates that, Obama said, could save them $2,000 a year.

Paying for the cuts and spending, Obama said, will come from adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid spending, elimination of tax loopholes for the richest Americans and the richest companies, as well as reforms to the tax code.

Often in his 32-minute speech, Obama called on Congress to act quickly to adopt the most urgent provisions of what is now called the American Jobs Act. About the payroll tax cuts, teacher funding aid, the unemployment benefits extension, and, indeed, the entire proposal, Obama said,  “You should pass it right away.”

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“Tepid enthusiasm” for the plan

Despite the frequent applause that came from Republicans as well as Democrats, getting the Act through Congress as he outlined it isn’t likely. The Wall Street Journal in its first report on the speech said economists “offered tepid enthusiasm” for the plan because of its small size and emphasis on temporary payroll tax cuts. The paper also noted that even the White House doesn’t expect the plan to survive as presented.

In an unscientific poll coinciding with the President’s appearance, online Journal readers split almost almost exactly between an A and F when asked to grade the speech. A third of the voters were scattered among B,C, and D.

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UPDATE: The reviews of President Obama’s jobs speech are starting to roll in, but here’s one from unemployed workers, courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And not surprisingly, the unemployed in St. Louis weren’t very impressed.

Mary Ann Downs hoped to hear something new, something creative.

Most of all, Downs wanted a signal from President Barack Obama that the end to her unemployment nightmare might actually be on the horizon.

As the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress on job creation drew to a close, Downs was still waiting.

“He talked about helping construction workers and teachers and veterans, his core supporters,” said Downs, a displaced small-business management professional who resides in south St. Louis County. “And that’s fine. But the long-term unemployed, the backbone of this, were at the bottom of the list.”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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1 Comment on “The President’s Jobs Plan: Is It Enough, and Can it Get Through Congress?

  1. My first thought is to little to late but something needs to be done.  My second thouht is why wasn’t this rolled out on 1/20/2009?  My third thought is nothing has changed the speach was “here is what I want, you will do it for me, we will not debate or comprimise, do it now which is how every signature piece of legislation in this presidency has been passed.  No comprimise with a loyal oposition just my way or the highway, which is why the last 3 years have been such an epic fail.   Only for the last 9 months he hasn’t had a lap dog congress that does whatever he wishes.

    The proper thing to do (aside from cancel the speach to deal with the catastrophic flooding in the MidAtlantic and Northeast) would be to put politics aside, say I’m no longer running for reelection, doing what I was elected to do is more important (in other words lead, and lead by example) and then propose, debate and compromise for a solution to the debt and with it a solution to the job crises that is mostly Obama inflicted upon the country in the first place (6.1% unemployment when he took office during a minior downturn that inaction turned to a major catastrophe).

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