President Obama has made a variety of claims about the American Jobs Act, most notably the fact that the bill would boost the economy — and be fully paid for. How do those claims stand up to scrutiny? According to the non-partisan CBO, pretty well…
All told, the American Jobs Bill, the CBO concluded, would reduce the deficit by $3 billion over the next 10 years, and that doesn’t factor in potential savings associated with increased revenue from a healthier economy.
The CBO’s findings don’t come as a big surprise — Democrats tend to take arithmetic seriously when crafting legislation — but they leave Republicans with no excuses for failure. The bill that’s on the table, as objective matter, creates jobs, cuts taxes, is fully paid for, and reduces the deficit.
The Obama administration has pioneered the much maligned “lead from the back” legislative strategy. In the healthcare debates, for example, he acted less like a star player and more like a referee. On one hand, nobody likes the ref. On the other hand, he’s gotten results. The stimulus, the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank, the DADT repeal. While the process has been frustrating, the results have led (and will continue to lead) to very tangible help for millions of people.
(There were some big misses too. I would have liked to see a comprehensive global-warming legislation and a sane immigration policy. In the current climate, I’m not sure either is possible. Raising energy costs during the recession is not a politically viable option. And, since economic suffering has given rise to xenophobia, I’d be afraid of any immigration bill that made it through Congress.)
That ended when the Republicans took power. Obama has fairly well held the line in ensuring there aren’t substantial cuts to his core priorities. And we’re even seeing some military cuts—which are awfully nice. But this is all playing defense. Nothing new is getting done.
The Obama administration has switched tactics again. He’s proposed the American Jobs act and laid out a credible deficit reduction plan. Both solid (and fairly moderate) legislative proposals. Neither has a chance of passing in its current form. However, they may well give moderates in Congress the political cover they need to address a comprehensive tax reform that includes some revenue increases. And that would be another legislative victory for the Obama administration.
In the meantime, rallying public support around good ideas will refocus the national political conversation.
Andrew Sullivan: “Every single poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 - 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 - 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.”
That’s 3:1 support!! Three regular people for every one delusional corporatist hack.
There are people on this thread actually defending the rich. How quaint. Because we all know that people who make millions of dollars a year earned that all by themselves through their own hard work and they have no obligation to society.