I did watch the President's address last night. The news segment this morning says that America is divided three ways on the proposals: Damnocrats agree enthusiastically, Repthuglicans disagree vigorously, and then a large group think it won't help much either because it won't be enacted or it really doesn't address the root problems. I am firmly in the latter camp. The plan to use tax credits to reward companies for hiring veterans and the long term unemployed are nice but will any measure be included to prevent companies from firing with one hand while hiring to qualify for the credits with the other? That has happened before. Also will the final measure, if it even gets that far, include anything to prevent companies firing workers hired under the program once they no longer qualify the company for credits? The mention of teachers was nice but, I think, too little too late. The stimulus contained similar measures but I watched as cities and states took the money and fired anyway--worried about what the economy would look like when the federal money ran out. And this school year has already started so it is a wash for those teachers already laid off. The proposals to extend the 'tax holiday' on payroll taxes? Well, are they proposing somewhere to recoup those for Social Security and Medicare? Oh, I guess not since Obama also proposes trimming Medicare. Incentives for refinancing mortgages at our historically low interest rates? I sincerely doubt that many will qualify. Consider the fact that the last proposals to do just that but too many who needed the help couldn't qualify. They had lost their jobs, or their current mortgages were underwater, or their income couldn't meed new demands, or....fill in your own favorite disqualification. Did anyone else hear the low level chorus of boos during the speech? Or was I imagining it?
Another thought just came to mind--the plan hopes to spur a new wave of consumption but putting some additional money in people's pockets. But, after three years of 'de-leveraging,' will people really begin to buy with the same enthusiasm as before the crash? I wonder how many of us have found out how much we can really do without. A consumer economy requires consumers and we are finding out what happens when consumers cannot consume.
This MSNBC article discusses a point that hit me watching the speech--paying for the jobs plan depends on a lot of uncertain actions happening on schedule. The Super Committee he doesn't control must vote on where to cut the budget (in other words: what we don't do in order to pay for this bill) and future law makers who aren't bound by the promises he or the Super Committee makes have to keep to the plan. We have already seen how that goes given how much of the last budget was cut after the fact in the wrangling over the last year.
I guess Sarah and Michelle aren't the only Repthuglicans who skipped history class. Found this Rick Perry quote at the Political Wire. I had heard part of it on the broadcast news but they decided the last sentence wasn't news worthy.
"The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet to me is just nonsense. Just because you have a group of scientists who stood up and said here is the fact. Galileo got outvoted for a spell."Last I knew Galileo was right. So, Rick, which side do you think is the modern Galileo? And the notion that he 'got outvoted for a spell' is just a little ridiculous. But then all too many of our politicians seem to have the notion that facts are somehow subject to the outcome of a vote.
Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has a good post on the economy and the unrealistic expectations of our supposed economic experts. See especially her discussion of the changes in the labor market that are being totally ignored in any discussion of our financial crises.