The high unemployment rate has taken center stage as the economy continues to recover, and last week’s announcement that the jobless rate had fallen to 10% from 10.2% hasn’t dimmed the spotlight, as evidenced by the “Jobs Summit” held last week at the White House.
On December 9, President Obama met with Congressional leaders from both parties in the White House on December 9 to discuss the best ways to stimulate job creation, following a speech the previous day by the President in which he proposed new job-creation measures and trumpeted the economic successes of his Administration so far, focusing on the $787 billion stimulus plan and the “1.6 million jobs” that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 “has already created and saved, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”
Those new measures, which various sources estimate would cost anywhere from $50 billion to $200 billion, include “a series of steps to help small businesses grow and hire new staff,” Obama said in his December 8 speech at the Brookings Institution, including “a complete elimination of capital gains taxes on small business investment along with an extension of write-offs to encourage small businesses to expand in the coming year,” saying he would work with Congress to pass a “tax incentive to encourage small businesses to add and keep employees.” The second step calls for a further infrastructure stimulus proposal “to continue modernizing our transportation and communications networks.” Third is the so-called cash for clunkers program, in which Congress would create “a new program to provide incentives for consumers who retrofit their homes to become more energy-efficient.” The fourth step was to provide additional “emergency assistance to seniors, unemployment insurance benefits, COBRA, and relief to states and localities to prevent layoffs.”
Published reports of the December 9 meeting with Congressional leaders say the exchange was testy, with Obama accusing the Republicans of obstructionism and “rooting against” an economic recovery, and with House Minority Leader John Boehner defending the GOP’s record of working in a bipartisan manner to help the economy recover, but also making clear that tax cuts would be the best way to stimulate economic and job growth.
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