Are You Ready to Rumble (on jobs…)?!

September 8th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

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.”

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10 comments in reply to "Are You Ready to Rumble (on jobs…)?!"

  1. Fr33d0m says:

    It isn’t that we don’t believe it won’t help, its that we believe we need more than half measures

    • pjr says:

      Thank you Fr33dOm that’s exactly right. It’s a half-measure that needs to be greatly supplemented, even replaced, by much stronger efforts. Furthermore, counting the “holiday” as a new measure beyond what we did for 2011 is dishonest–Obama might as well also claim that extension of all the Bush tax cuts through 2012 is part of his new jobs plan, too. I’ll be looking for what Obama wants to do beyond what we’re doing in 2011, and count only that as his new jobs plan.

  2. Comma1 says:

    At what point did it become acceptable that Obama’s big jobs plan was to “not cut paychecks by these amounts.” Um, excuse me. We are bordering on a depression — there were zero jobs created last month. We are 5 years into it. DC has crushed at least two generations of people (new graduates and those nearing retirement) by not doing enough. And lets not forget that this Great Recession followed on the heals of one of the slowest recoveries from a recession ever. So if you want to get real about, the economy has been in the dumps for more than a decade.

    If Obama thinks the fight is over not cutting paychecks — then we’ve lost. Frankly, you shouldn’t be backing a president whose “fired up” to, at best, remain where we are. Where we are is drowning.

  3. Chigliakus says:

    I understand it’s easier to be critical than constructive, and I appreciate your attempts to put this in a positive light. We need to remember not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and from what I’ve read so far I think the President’s plan is good. Perhaps, if Obama is willing to fight for jobs, this will rally the electorate to the cause, and expose the Republicans for the obstructionists they are. It’s downright frightening to think of how bad things could be under the harsh austerity measures the GOP wants to impose, so we must avoid that path at all costs. Keep fighting the good fight, Jared.

    • Tom Allen says:

      The harsh austerity measures are being pushed by the Democrats, with President Obama leading the way. Who pressed for the Catfood Commission? Not Congress. Not the GOP. Who pressed for Social Security cuts to be included in the debt ceiling deal? Not Congress. Not the GOP.

      Yes, we must avoid the path of austerity. That is why many of us are urging opposition to the austerity plans of both the GOP and the Democrats.

      • Chigliakus says:

        I agree we must fight cuts to Social Security, and cuts to the social safety net in general. The problem is that, like other progressive causes, a lot of lies have been told about Social Security over the years and a lot of people believed them. Progressives aren’t really represented much in our government anymore, and things are going to continue to be difficult for our cause for a while. Some days I feel like Comma1 above, but in this case I think Jared may have had inside info and was telling us to calm down and wait to see what the President is going to propose. It’s definitely better than expected, even Krugman likes it:

  4. Jeff says:

    A whole DOZEN protestors “ready to rumble”, wow I’m impressed!

    Too little too late, get out the forks, this baby’s done.

  5. markg8 says:

    I agree with Chigliakus. Comma1 you are free to fight or drown.

  6. Comma1 says:

    Markg8, I’m free to fight or drown, as are you. My fighting includes two degrees, moving away from family and friends to a different part of the country for temp work, delaying marriage and starting a family, selling my car, ignoring an injury to my ear that caused deafness for the past two years, going without health insurance, skipping most entertainment like movies, dinner out, cable, eating what amounts to rice and beans five times a week, sleeping on an air mattress for a year straight (and convincing my significant other to do so too and not dump me), I find the time to keep up with the news and read economist blogs like this multiple times a day, oh and switching between four different — all failing– industries. Don’t tell me to fight, tell the president.