Thursday, December 03, 2009

Obama Hosts a Jobs Summit, Congress Eyes Jobs Stimulus

From an alarmed TIME:

"Democrats in Congress know the gravy train will soon be coming to an end. They raised discretionary non-military spending by 8% in the 2009 budget and another 7% in the 2010 budget, and polls show GOP accusations of profligate spending are starting to resound with voters; the White House has indicated President Obama plans to use his first State of the Union speech in January to outline his plan to draw down the ballooning deficits.

But if voters are concerned about spending, they're even more worried about unemployment, which is at a 26-year high of 10.2%. And so, even as the economy seems to have stabilized and priorities such as health care, climate change and Afghanistan fight for a dwindling pool of federal money, there's one piece of legislation that is almost certain to get passed: some form of a jobs bill.

Of course, given how little money Democrats have left to play with, any kind of second stimulus will have to provide a big bang for the buck. House and Senate leaders are looking at combining extensions of unemployment insurance, food stamps and health insurance for recently laid off workers (known as COBRA) with infrastructure investments and money for clean energy projects. The Obama Administration has also resurrected a proposal the President campaigned on: a $3,000 tax credit per new hire for small businesses, an idea that was dropped from the first stimulus because it would've been too easy for employers to manipulate by firing and rehiring workers. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank has proposed a $2 billion fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. In the Senate, Virginia's Mark Warner wants to use $50 billion in leftover bank bailout funds for small business loans (as of the end of October the so-called TARP program still had $300 billion left). And Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, has taken inspiration from Germany's successful weathering of the financial crisis and proposed a $600 million fund to subsidize workers who volunteer to have their hours cut back to help companies avoid layoffs.

Meanwhile, as the President gathers lawmakers, chief executives and union heads Thursday at the White House for a jobs summit, business groups are pushing for an array of tax cuts. The National Federation of Independent Business would like to see a payroll tax holiday. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is asking for a reduction of the capital-gains tax, renewal of popular research and development and other soon-to-expire business tax breaks and a permanent elimination of the estate tax, among a long wish list of tax provisions. The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest umbrella union, would like to see aid to struggling states to help avoid layoffs of teachers, police and public employees and upwards of $500 billion more in targeted infrastructure and green jobs investment. They propose paying for this by instituting a stock transaction surcharge of 0.25% per trade — a move vehemently opposed by Wall Street, business groups, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House."

I'm pretty sure the democrats won't let the gravy train end as long as they have the majority in Congress, can enlarge the federal deficit pit, and demand the Fed keep printing money. Could it be there's a particular agenda to this summit? One side of the coin desires increased gub'mint spending & subsidies while the other side proposes tax breaks and business incentives. Guess which side was not invited & will have to crash Obama's job summit? (a fact TIME conveniently left out of their story)

Critics not invited to White House 'jobs summit'.
"Missing from a partial list of attendees released by the White House are the self-proclaimed voices of business - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business - both of which have been critical of Mr. Obama's proposed health care overhaul.

Confirmed attendees include liberal economists credited with shaping the $787 billion stimulus package, union leaders, environmental advocates and executives from Google and other blue-chip firms...

Several analysts said the summit is unlikely to amount to more than window dressing without a balanced guest list.

"The panel does not include free-market voices who will contend the administration is spending too much or interfering too much in the economy, or that it is hurting job creation by increasing the burden of taxes and government debt," said Josh Barro, a senior fellow on fiscal policy at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute. "I expect these economists will generally call for more Keynesian stimulus - more deficit spending and more aid to state governments."

Well, obviously, there's absolutely no partisan divisiveness coming from this Whitehouse - just political payoffs to the faithful.

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