Friday, September 9, 2011

GOP Derides Obama Jobs Plan As ‘Second Stimulus,’ Ignoring Success Of The First

Last night, President Obama rolled out a $450 billion job creation package before a joint session of Congress, calling for a plan that includes a payroll tax reduction, money for infrastructure and school modernization, as well as help for homeowners and reforms of the unemployment insurance program. “This plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it,” Obama said.

By Pat Garofalo posted from ThinkProgress Economy

But while the GOP leadership has made some conciliatory comments — with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) saying that “the proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration” — many Republicans have derided the plan by calling it another stimulus, along the lines of the 2009 Recovery Act.

Of course, all of this criticism is based on the incorrect assumption that the 2009 Recovery Act didn’t work. But as the Congressional Budget Office has continually found, the Recovery Act created or supported millions of jobs, keeping the unemployment rate up to two points below where it otherwise would have been. At its height in the third quarter of 2010, Recovery Act funds were supporting up to 3.6 million jobs.

In June of this year, Recovery Act funding was still supporting up to 2.9 million jobs. This chart tracks the change in employment that occurred following the passage of the Recovery Act:

Thus far, economists have offered “mainly positive reviews” of Obama’s plan, with Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics estimating that “the plan would add 2 percentage points to GDP growth next year, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point.” Analysts at Goldman Sachs estimate that the plan will boost growth by 1.5 percentage points, while the Economic Policy Institute said that the plan will create 2.6 million jobs and support another 1.6 million, boosting overall employment by almost 4.3 million.

The reason that unemployment is so high, even with the Recovery Act, is that it wasn’t big enough to deal with the scale of the problem. But to Republicans, the millions of jobs created by the Recovery Act signal abject failure, and therefore Obama’s new jobs plan doesn’t warrant consideration, even as the economy struggles to throw off the chains of the Great Recession.

Full article @ ThinkProgress

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