President Obama outlined his plan to encourage U.S. job creation in a speech at the Brookings Institution Tuesday, emphasizing three priorities: tax cuts for small businesses; investment in U.S. infrastructure; and incentives for energy efficiency initiatives. While avoiding specific cost estimates or projections for the number of jobs that could be created, Mr. Obama called for a series of tax cuts for small businesses to encourage both new business investment and new hiring. He also called for investment in building and improving highways, bridges, and water systems to aid the ailing construction sector, and for new rebates for consumers who retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient.
“There is only so much government can do. Job creation will ultimately depend on the real job creators: businesses across America. But government can help lay the groundwork on which the private sector can better generate jobs, growth, and innovation.”
With the nation’s unemployment rate at 10 percent, the push for new jobs is a major domestic priority for the administration. But the White House has been mindful of presenting job creation ideas that do not substantially add to the nation’s $12 trillion debt burden. On Monday, a Treasury report estimated that the cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program will come in around $200 billion less than expected. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama said Treasury would continue to use remaining TARP funds to lend to small businesses, and called for some of the leftover money to be used to pay down the nation’s deficit.
“There has rarely been a less loved or more necessary emergency program than TARP…[but] today, TARP has served its original purpose and at a much lower cost than we expected….This gives us a chance to pay down the deficit faster than we thought possible and to shift funds that would have gone to help the banks on Wall Street to help create jobs on Main Street.”
We’ll have more on Obama’s speech tonight when Judy Woodruff sits down with two experts to discuss how the jobs plan might affect unemployment and the deficit.