President Obama gave a “major speech” today (out of curiosity, can anyone tell what makes a speech major?) outlining several new proposals for boosting job creation and ensuring job stability. More than 90% of all economic indicators point to a recovery already in progress, but unemployment, even though it went down in a dramatic way for the first time last month, is still painfully high. And understandably, this is the single most important economic indicator for most people.
So, to help spur growth, the White House is hoping to implement the following ideas.
Small Business Tax Cuts
Small businesses (usually defined as those with less than 250 employees) would be encouraged to resume hiring with a new tax incentive for each new employee added to the roster.
Obama also proposed a temporary suspension of Capital Gains taxes for small business investment “along with an extension of write-offs to encourage small businesses to expand in the coming year”.
Because small businesses are still having trouble getting the loans they need, the White House is proposing to waive fees for, and increase the guarantees for, SBA-backed loans.
The text of Obama’s speech was especially vague on this point, only saying that there were more than enough qualified infrastructure plans bid on for dollars from the original stimulus plan, and that they’d like to revisit some of them. These include improvements to “roads, bridges, water systems, Superfund sites, broadband networks, and clean energy projects”.
A senior administration official said around $50 billion of fresh money would be earmarked for spending on roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure, and the money would be spent over the course of a year.
Obama asked for Congress to “consider a new program to provide incentives for consumers who retrofit their homes to become more energy efficient, which we know creates jobs, saves money for families, and reduces the pollution that threatens our environment”, as well as expand certain proven Recovery Act programs in the same arena.
Seniors, Veterans, Public Service Jobs
The White House wants to provide additional $250 payments to senior and veterans and act on measures that could help local governments keep teachers and police officers employed.
Continued Unemployment Help
Also from the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Obama said he also wants to extend fiscal stimulus programs that would provide unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans and help laid-off workers keep their health insurance.
There are some numbers missing, and how will this be paid for?
Nobody knows that, yet. Obama did say that they were looking into making use of the “leftover” funds from the TARP program, which is being paid back more quickly than expected and has a cost estimate much lower than it was earlier this year. But the TARP program is apparently very well-written, and can only be used to rescue banks, or pay down the deficit. Administration officials are currently challenging this notion.
Updated December 26, 2010 and originally published December 8, 2009.