January 27th, 2010
12:35 PM ET
13 years ago

Washington scrambles to create jobs

New York (CNNMoney.com) - Boosting employment tops the to-do list in Washington right now.

President Obama plans to focus on jobs in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night. The administration's effort will reportedly center on tax credits for small businesses, traditionally the engine of job creation.

At the same time, lawmakers are looking to introduce bills that will spur hiring in the private sector.

Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are working on a proposal to be introduced tomorrow. The package will target four areas: Small businesses, infrastructure, clean energy, and assistance to states to keep teachers, firefighters and other public employees on the job, according to a Democratic party aide.

Meanwhile, Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, unveiled their plans to boost hiring in a New York Times op-ed piece on Wednesday.

Any company that brings on a worker who has been unemployed for at least two months will not have to pay the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax on that employee for the rest of the year, according to the plan. Employers would receive an additional $1,000 credit on their 2011 taxes for keeping the workers on the payroll continuously for a year.

"Our two-pronged approach would be a far more effective use of taxpayer dollars than other proposals under discussion, all of which could cost many times more with very little guaranteed improvement in unemployment," the senators wrote.

The White House renewed the focus on creating jobs last month, bringing together more than 100 business owners, economists and other experts for a brainstorming session with administration officials.

Soon after, the House passed a $154 billion jobs bill that would funnel more funds to infrastructure and to states. It would also extend the deadline to file for unemployment insurance and the federal Cobra subsidy through June.

They currently are set to expire at the end of next month. The administration had hoped the Senate would quickly pass the House measure, but the landscape changed after the GOP secured its 41st seat in the Senate after winning a special election in Massachusetts last week. Now, it's likely that any jobs package will have to include measures that will appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.

Unemployment, which stands at 10%, has emerged as a key indicator of the success of the Obama administration's efforts to prop up the economy after the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

White House officials say that the $862 billion stimulus package passed last February has created or saved up to 2 million jobs. They credit the effort with helping pull the nation out of the recession.

But Republicans point to the high unemployment rate as proof the administration's measures are not working. Instead, they have proposed their own job creation bill, which includes lowering payroll taxes on employers and halt regulations that impose new burdens on businesses.

"If we're going to get the economy going again, we have to allow American families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn," said Republican Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, on National Public Radio Wednesday morning. "Until there is more money in their hands, we're not going to see the economy rebound quickly."

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Hugo

    Wait a minute, what happened to all those jobs or saved by the stimulus? Oh that's right, it kept a bunch of tax dollar sucking bureaucrats in their tax dollar sucking jobs charged with destroying and regulating businesses to the point of creating real jobs.

    January 27, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. El Kababa

    So all of the guys in thousand dollar suits that we elected to make the hard decisions are now going to create jobs. The best way would be for the government to hire people. Businesses are not going to start hiring if you give them a tax break. Why should they? They have learned to handle the current workload by overworking a small staff. My employer has layed off a lot of American employees (though our staff in Bangalore is growing, I hear) and the anxious survivors are now putting in a standard 60 hour week. My wife complains about not seeing me, but I tell her that I can quit and go on unemployment so she can see me more often.

    She says, "Can't you explain to them that you are not seeing your family enough and that it is just not right for them to make you work so much."

    "No, I can't," I reply. "They would simply tell me to spend some time thinking about my priorities."

    January 27, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Boosting jobs should have been at the top of the 'to do' list for the past year instead of health care, the Olympics, global warming and all the other pet liberal causes. What part of 'it's the economy stupid' is hard to understand?

    January 27, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Laura in KS

    So let me get this straight–the most vocal critics of President Obama are complaining that he's not doing enough to "create jobs." But at the same time, they're screaming that the gov't is "too big." Why is it the gov't's job to give you a job? They're not the ones hiring, and they can't force the private sector to start hiring. You criticize gov't constantly, and then expect it to solve all your problems when it's convenient. How hypocritical.

    January 27, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Create jobs....?

    With whom will the Dems create jobs in partnrship with:

    Obama gave notice to the big banks and corporation that if a fight you want you will get. it...Obama and I will fight....fight...to my last breath....

    ..............Not the direction to create jobs...jobs...jobs................................

    January 27, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Enough

    Geez now they are going to think about jobs! They were too busy wasting their time on spending more money and working on a terrible health care bill to care about unemployment being well over 10%. Out with all the worthless Democrats, they have spent us into oblivion and it's time to stop.

    January 27, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |

    Unless his palns include tax cuts and incentives, it's just more BS. More spending isn't going to create long term sustainable jobs and will be a one time fix, like the cash for clunkers.

    January 27, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. L for Legend


    January 27, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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