So I caught president Obama’s speech last night. Aside from the lack of specifics on certain issues or proposals, I was left wondering: wait a minute, was this Barack Obama, or Shaft? No seriously, I was pleasantly surprised at the brothas tone. Hell, throw in a few “eat the cake Anna Mae” lines along with the frequency of the “pass this jobs bill” line – which was uttered 12 times – and I’m pretty sure jobs would come knocking at our doors within 24-48 hours. Why? Because Barack has spoken! No but seriously: this is the Barack I’ve been waiting to see . And boy did he do the damn thang!
In the face of all the disrespect from opponents on the right, and dissatisfaction from many on the left. President Obama delivered as impassioned a speech as he has in a very long time. Personally, I think he failed to live up to the expectations of many prior to his speech. And I would say that many of “us” were pleasantly surprised, and are now recharged for the fight. Please believe, it’s on!
Pass the muh’fuggin bill right now, Congress!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the proposal by Ezra Klein:
The proposal itself is called “The American Jobs Act” and amounts to about $450 billion worth of ideas that have, at other times, commanded a bipartisan consensus.
– It completely eliminates the payroll tax for workers, which amount to a $175 billion tax break, and cuts it in half for businesses until they reach the $5 million mark on their payrolls, at a cost of $65 billion. The idea there is to target the tax cut to struggling small businesses, rather than the cash-rich large businesses. It also extends the credit allowing businesses to expense 100 percent of their investments through 2012, which the White House predicts will cost $5 billion.
– It offers $35 billion in aid to states and cities to prevent teacher layoffs, and earmarks $25 billion for investments in school infrastructure.
– It sets aside $50 billion for investments in transportation infrastructure, $15 billion for investments in vacant or foreclosed properties, and $10 billion for an infrastructure bank. It also makes mention of a program to “deploy high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of Americans,” but it doesn’t offer many details on that program.
– It provides $49 billion to extend expanded unemployment insurance benefits. $8 billion for a new tax credit to encourage businesses to hire the long-term unemployed, and $5 billion for a new program aimed at supporting part-time and summer jobs for youth and job training for the unemployed.
– It also encourages the Federal Housing Finance Authority to make it easier for underwater homeowners to refinance their mortgages.
If all of that could be spent out in 2012 — a big if, but given the reliance on tax cuts and state and local aid, much of it could certainly hit before the year’s end — it would be bigger, in annual terms, than the Recovery Act. The White House also promises the entire proposal will be paid for, and the specific offsets will be released next week.
The plan, taken as a whole, attempts to include every single theory of how to address the jobs crisis. If you believe we need more direct spending, you’ve got the infrastructure component. More tax cuts? The plan has $250 billion in tax cuts. More help for the unemployed? Yep. More deficit reduction? Next week, the White House will release a package that offsets this plan and reduces the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion on top of that.
Still not happy that cuts to Medicare & Medicaid is the sacrificial lamb of the day. Once again, it would appear that poor and working poor folks must bare the brunt of that shared sacrifice. But hey, what else is new in America, right? Nothing definitive about revenue increases, just gank the poor.