There seems to be considerable dyspepsia out there re the President’s jobs plan.
Commenters are generally pretty critical, suggesting it won’t help, it’s not big enough, this stuff doesn’t work, it’s old news, Congress won’t pass it, Obama won’t fight for it.
Republicans, of course, are busy prebutting it all over the place. Mitch McConnell said that he “…certainly intend[s] to listen politely to the recommendations the president has, but I think I can pretty confidently say everybody in the Republican Conference in the Senate thinks that we need to quit doing what we’ve been doing,”
I think all of these critiques are wrong except the part about Congress, and I don’t even think that’s wholly correct.
First of all, details are coming in, though I don’t want to elaborate until I’ve got more solid info, at which point I’ll quickly post. But I believe we’re going to learn about a strong, robust jobs plan tonight, considerably more so than I’m reading about in the papers.
I suspect Congress will ultimately support the extension (and maybe even an increase) of the payroll tax cut that the President is expected to announce tonight. Yet, some folks seem unimpressed with the policy. But check out this chart from my CBPP colleague Chuck Marr.
It shows how much paychecks would fall if the tax cut expired. Now, I’ve endlessly argued that keeping this tax cut going doesn’t press down further on the economic gas pedal. But I’ve also stressed the importance of keeping it going for another year. Does anyone think this is a good time to cut paychecks by these amounts?
Again, details to follow, but if what I’m hearing is anywhere near correct, including considerable infrastructure (FAST!–public school repairs—an OTE original…will likely be in the mix!), some help preserving the jobs of teachers and other public sector workers, UI extension, and more, then there’s no question in my mind that the plan, if fully implemented, could get a whole lot of people back to work within the next year, and significantly shave the unemployment rate compared to where it would be without these measures.
Starting at about 8 tonight, the fight to make this plan a reality will begin in earnest. I very much understand the substantive nuances—employer-side credits are not optimal in weak demand environment, infrastructure takes time to stand up (though we named it FAST! for a reason)—but the larger point is that this will be a defining fight. The more of the plan we win in that fight, the better for working families and for the economy.
So I don’t know about you, or for that matter the President or anybody else.
But I am ready to rumble.
Update: These folks are too, apparently (i.e., ready to rumble): Politico reports that at the opening meeting of the 12 member, deficit-reduction supercommittee:
“Protesters in a hallway outside the meeting room in a House office building disrupted the proceedings with chats of “jobs … now!”…“What do we want? Jobs! When do we need them? Now!” blared a group of about a dozen people stationed outside the room. The dozen House and Senate lawmakers paused their opening statements for about five minutes, unable to be heard over the crowd.”