In a major political win for the Democrats, President Obama successfully finished his big job creation speech before kick-off in the Packers-Saints game last night. It was close, and there were a lot of white knuckles in the chamber as Obama blabbed on for over half an hour, but in the end sports fans were unaffected. Many doubted he could pull it off—as Obama entered, "microphones caught him assuring a lawmaker that his speech would not interfere with the game," the Times reports.
As for the jobs thing, Obama repeatedly called on lawmakers to "pass this jobs bill" right away, immediately, most ricky-tick. He also revealed his deep contempt for circuses, declaring, "The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy." The Times reports that Obama's "package was substantially larger than predicted," adding up to $447 billion, and "much of the money would flow into the economic bloodstream in 2012." Here's the meat, according to a Times editorial that generally applauds the plan:
At the core of his plan are two cuts in the payroll tax — one for employers and one for employees — that have long been embraced by Republicans. The employee cut would reduce the tax to 3.1 percent of income instead of the 4.2 percent negotiated last year. (It was 6.2 percent originally.) Although it could have been better targeted to low- and middle-income families, it will put money in people’s pockets quickly and increase consumer demand.
For employers, the plan would halve the payroll tax for most small and medium-size businesses and would provide an incentive for hiring by temporarily removing the tax for new employees (and on raises for existing ones). Companies would also get a $4,000 tax credit for hiring anyone out of work for more than six months. Unemployment insurance would be extended for five million people. Though Mr. Obama said more Americans would be able to refinance their homes at low interest rates, he did not say how.
The plan would provide $35 billion in state aid to prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs while hiring tens of thousands more, along with additional police officers and firefighters. It would create jobs to modernize 35,000 schools across the country. And it would accelerate $50 billion in improvements for highways, railroads, transit and aviation.
Republicans did not issue a formal rebuttal to the president's speech, again, because of the NFL game: House speaker John Boehner said he didn't want Americans tuning into the big game to be "forced to watch some politician they don’t want to listen to." But Obama's frequent sparring partner Eric Cantor criticized Obama for not saying how he'd pay for all of this, and a Republican Senator on the deficit-reduction supercommittee lamented all the new work Obama just dumped on his desk. "It obviously makes our work more difficult," Senator Rob Portman told the Wall Street Journal. "He has just added to the debt tonight with additional ideas." Typical Obama—next he'll be asking Portman to come into the office on Saturday to finish that T.P.S report.
Whether the American Jobs Act passes or not, it will have little impact on NYC, according to James Parrott, chief economist at the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute. "New York would need 512,000 additional jobs" to return to its prerecession levels, Parrott tells the Daily News. "This plan is not going to make a lot of progress toward that." And Mike Durant at the National Federation of Independent Businesses, believes the tax cuts for small businesses won't result in new jobs, because many of these businesses are just treading water. But for individual New Yorkers, the proposed payroll tax cut should mean more than $1,000 in extra take-home pay for the average worker, who will hopefully invest that money back in the local economy by buying Jets/Giants tickets.