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. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Hey, i just got a great idea to create jobs! Let's cut taxes for the richest Americans and corporations. They'll use the extra money to hire us all into well-paying jobs with great benefits! Oh, wait.....
    Have a nice day!

    January 27, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. John D.

    Screw all this crap. Cut taxes and wasteful spending. Shrink the size of Government and stay to hell out of the private sector. Stop your peddling of power. Quite telling banks to loosen their lending restrictions then act amazed when they fail and try to make us think it's their fault that the federal Government opened the door to the hen house to let the weasels in!

    January 27, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Dutch the Great

    Tell these republicans to stop sitting on stimulus funds and put them to use. These republicans are dispicable. They postpone everything. Why'd they take so long decide on extending unemployment benefits and then eventually almost all of them voted for it? They are being obstructionists.

    January 27, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Oh sure......waste a year, then pretend to be concerned about jobs. Right.

    January 27, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Disgruntled Independent

    What's the hurry?

    January 27, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. SocialismBad

    "Boosting employment tops the to-do list in Washington right now."
    RIGHT NOW??!! Where have these idiots been for the last year??!! This should have been what they were spending their time on instead all of the other stupid stuff that had to be done right now or the sky would fall.

    The Democrats have fiddled while the country burned. Now they want to do what the Republicans have been BEGGING for for the last 2 years. It's obvious to EVRYBODY except the truly ignorant that the "stimulus package" was nothing but a Democratic Pork Roast for their supporters.

    January 27, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    No question, small businesses make up how much of the value and earnings for our country? Thank you.

    There is a disconnect with the majority of people in the country as a whole. And quite honestly, I think his State of the Union address ain't gonna resolve anything. The power of influence works only two ways, expertise power and referent power and so far, none of that has been inhibited to the general public. For the record, no one wants health care, let alone people people understand it and are perplexed by its content. No one wants it, period.

    We see big business and how they're making big bucks on the sidelines, which quite frankly, we see that as unfair and unethical. We don't wanna let bis businuess dictate where the direction of the country is heading, isn't it supposed to be us who dictates where is headed? Oh yeah, it is true...when Dems are getting kicked out on the 2010 elections(by the way, I hope GOP will still be the underdog by that, I'll bet $50 on those liberals and get what they wanted).

    I guess you can see the analogy to sports business. If your team sucks the first year or if you're on a transition, guess what? We don't care! We pay for the teams(pay for our leaders), we pay for our products(pay for our seats), we pay for our value(pay for our assets), etc and the list goes on and on. So stop blaming the past and stop complaining about inheriting a tough time when you came into the spectrum and people were inspired to see something different. Is the same ol, same ol. Let alone I don't know where they get assetion that big business is gonna solve our problems, haven't they got the memo already?

    In my honest opinion, I don't think the State of the Union is gonna matter much, I really don't. Not much is to gain, not much is to hope, maybe if he has his leftist populism then maybe people can have some faith...in themselves, not our Prez. The secret to persuasion is a complex one, after all, I know it! But based on behavior I'm seeing, contents I'm hearing, plights are setting, there is no chance in hell this specch is gonna matter. All we can do is pray, hope and make sure people do care, other than that, you tell me getting a W on literary writing will help resolve our problems.

    January 27, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. DALE

    Back in 2008 the Repubs knew that the job market wouldn't turn around until the middle of 2011. The sound bites are out there, play them.

    January 27, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Norman Nelson

    With no new markets for American produced products how do you
    create jobs? Fake jobs are created with government money for
    construction, there' s no market, no sustainability. We can create
    products, solar panels, cars, Tv's, clothing, etc til the cows come
    home but markets are needed. Food, now thats where we can'
    be beat everybody else and most of the world is flat starving.

    January 27, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. james Miller

    The Demos "shot their wad" on health care. Big Pharma bought Washington and the Repubs along with some Demos. lined their retirement accounts while " just doing the right thing". --– I`m turned OFF by both parties. These PIGS are more interested in preserving a place at the trough( House/Senate) than doing their jobs.

    January 27, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Orange Curtain, CA


    January 27, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    Now that we are on the up swing from where the Dubya and his henchmen left us the tea-bagger nation wants to be back in power. Sadly many are trying to make Obama out to be the big spender. Dubya/Dick expanded the government control and budget beyond anyone's imagination, or our capability. And I know you silly victims on the right will whine about how you keep hearing it's all Bush's fault, well it is. Bush/Cheney spent eight years dismantling our middle class, unfortunately it will take more than Obama's eight years to bring it back.
    Obama's our best "hope", and the Repubs continue to be our worst "fear" (mongers).

    January 27, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. If you want something ruined let a democratic community organizer run it

    It took Obama over a year to figure out that jobs are the real issue?

    It took a democratic beating in Mass to wake up the kool-aid gang to the real issues?

    What would Obama be talking about if the Mass seat went blue? Would jobs suddenly be the topic de jour?

    or... would Botox Pelosi still be pushing Obama Care?

    Just asking the hard questions.

    January 27, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. buckwheat

    If he wants to create jobs announce his abdication of the throne. No one will invest in this government as long as the Chicago mafia runs our government.

    January 27, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    I did not get to post a comment about the article "about Americans believe that this is the worst economic time of their lifetime" or something like this.

    Obviously, the people polled either have amnesia or they are too young to remember the 1980's!

    In '81 & '82 we had "Twin Recessions" which was terrible.

    In 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, our UNEMPLOYMENT REACHED......... 10%.

    Please read some history, do some research, folks. We have been here before and we need to put in place some strict regulations to reign in Wall Street crooks or we will be here again and worse!

    January 27, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |

    Excuse me, but wouldn't 'Washington creating jobs' be the same as a 'government program'? Or, dare I say, SOCIALISM?!?!?

    We will NEVER CREATE jobs until we START PRODUCING products again. What happened to Levis, Lees, Souix Tools, Baker Furniture, etc. WE LOST THEM ALL OVERSEAS.

    How can we creat jobs when we don't make anything anymore?


    Come on people, GET REAL.

    January 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |

    Don't worry about moderation CNN/the NEW FauxNEWs. Maybe if YOU read this, it will give you a better direction for your TALKING HEADS.

    January 27, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Captain Awesome

    Uh, really?! Shouldn't jobs have been issue #1 from the start? It seems that now the democrats are scrambling with a mid year election in the horizon.

    January 27, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Jeff

    Why is it Washington's job to create jobs? Where does it say that in the Constitution? Job creation needs to be left to the private sector. Cut the spending and cut the taxes so business will have the capital needed to hire more employees.

    January 27, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. center left

    The Democrats drag their feet on "Health care" to defeat. President Obama and the Democrats should have pass "Health Care" back in November to put it in the distant pass. The Democrat are scared of the Republicans. The Democrats are like hiring cowards to protect you.

    January 27, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. jamyers291

    washington does NOT create jobs.

    that's a false story.

    January 27, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Donald

    I beg to differ with the Republicans that the administration's measures are not working. When a person gets a severe infection, the medication does not show sign of working right away depending on the nature of the ailment. Sometimes recovery will take longer because the underlying damage to the tissue was very severe. This is just the case with the economy. This recession did not come by in just one year of wrong ideas/practices. The underlying damage was from more than six years of Republican waste on the Iraq war and neglect on the domestic front while giving unnecessary tax cuts to the wealthly and permitting the Banks/Investment institutions to go off a tangent in the investment schemes they set with very little oversight from the government was the main cause for the current problems. Also the people need to take some responsibility for spending themselves into debt more than they were able to sustain if financial difficulties arise due to a down turn in the economy as it did. No one knew that the damage was so deep and severe. It was not confine to the USA alone. It was a world wide problem. This recession was only surpassed by the Great Depression. First, the administration's stimulus following on the heels of the TARP that was done by the Republicans helped to rescue the economy from total colapse. Can you imagine what it would have been like had president Obama's administration not injected capital into the Banks which have now paid back the money and the government is also now making money for the public purse. Secondly the government introduced initiatives the helped to keep many people in their homes. I may fully not agree with the approach of the current president Obama's administration but the Republicans and some socalled conservative democrats of the congress had no desire to work with the this administration. Their only plan was to spread fear and try to kill anything that will help the American people. I am happy for the system of government in the USA which can hold the president's administration and congress accountable to each other and is the the envy of the world but they should work for the people not to only furhter their on political careers. The Republicans may win some battles leading up to the war (midterm election) but when it is all said and done the American people will see the effect of what the administration doing to correct the problem, and as such will give the administration credit with their votes. God bless America

    January 27, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. Bill in California

    WATCHING THE DIMRATS SCRAMBLE like the KEYSTONE COPS is more entertaining than anything HOLLYWEIRD can ever come up with. POPCORN please!

    January 27, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. Blutarski

    Washington can't scramble eggs, they're not going to create jobs.

    January 27, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Doug

    Any jobs plan that keep paying teachers,a local government employee, to get paid twice at the local pay with federal funds comingled, is wrong and sends the wrong message. Policeman should be let go if their departments use red light cameras instead of officers to raise revenue. It is a new day using technology instead of people. Remember, it is now productivity, not workers. This is why we have unemployment to begin with, just saving public employees at the expense of everyone else is WRONG.

    January 27, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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