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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is This the Best Congress Can Do for the Unemployed?

Why are they calling this a jobs bill? There are hardly any job creation measures in it:

Jobless claims bill OK'd by Senate, by Tami Luhby, CNNMoney.com: The Senate on Wednesday approved ... by a 62-36 vote ... the latest job creation effort to go before lawmakers, though it contains virtually no new initiatives to boost employment. Its price tag has wavered between $140 billion and $150 billion, which is partially offset. Its next stop is the House, where a quick passage is anything but assured. ...
Lawmakers have come under pressure from both the White House and unemployed Americans to do more to spur hiring. But after many speeches, officials have enacted little to help the nearly 15 million looking for work. ...
The bill passed Wednesday would push back the deadline to file for extended jobless benefits and the federal subsidy for COBRA health insurance until Dec. 31. ...
The measure would also extend dozens of tax provisions -- including allowing teachers to deduct education expenses and providing businesses a research and development credit -- that expired at the end of last year. ...
It would also temporarily halt a 21% reduction in Medicare physician reimbursement rates. And it would send another $25 billion to the states to help them fund their Medicaid programs for another six months.
The bill also extends two Recovery Act provisions for small businesses. It provides $354 million to continue funding the increased Small Business Administration guarantee and fee waiver through year's end.
Next up is a $15 billion bill that would:
--Exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed.
--Fund highway and transit programs through 2010.
--Extend a tax break for business that spend money on capital investments, such as equipment purchases.
--Expand the use of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects. ...

Even if every measure that has been proposed passes, it won't have much of an impact on jobs. Congress ought to be embarrassed by this effort, it's not even close to what is needed, but come election time, I have no doubt that they'll brag about how they stepped up to the plate in a time of need. What they won't tell you is that they struck out -- looking -- and lost the game.

[Dual posted at MoneyWatch]

    Posted by on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 10:02 AM in Economics, MoneyWatch, Politics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (20)


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