As promised in his address to a joint session of Congress last week, President Barack Obama on Monday sent his proposed economic plan, the American Jobs Act, to Capitol Hill and urged legislators to “pass it immediately.” He maintained that the bill “could add a significant amount to our Gross Domestic Product, and could put people back to work all across the country” and that it would not “add a dime to the deficit.”
The bill hews closely to the outline provided in Obama’s speech. On the tax side of things, it provides for payroll tax cuts for businesses, a continuation of the existing payroll tax cut for employees, a payroll tax holiday for employers who take on new employees or give existing employees raises, and tax credits for businesses that hire returning veterans and those who have been unemployed for at least six months. It also allows businesses to expense 100 percent of their capital investments in 2012. Meanwhile, the legislation spends like the proverbial drunken sailor: $35 billion for keeping teachers, police officers, and firefighters on state and local government payrolls; $30 billion for modernizing public schools; $50 billion for building and repairing highways, railroads, and other infrastructure; $10 billion for establishing a National Infrastructure Bank; $15 billion for rehabilitating homes, businesses, and communities; $10 billion for expanding nationwide wireless Internet service; $49 billion for extending unemployment insurance for another year and otherwise “reforming” the program; and $5 billion for improving the employment of low-income youth and adults.
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Photo: President Barack Obama holds ups his proposed American Jobs Act legislation while making a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Sept., 12, 2011.: AP Images