As Obama prepares to hit the road for his taxpayer-funded pro-jobs bus tour later this month, it’s worth taking a look at his proposals for dealing with the country’s unemployment so far. What exactly will the president be promoting on his cross-state trip?
First, he’s likely to tout his most recent jobs pitch – an employment incentive and training program for veterans – which would give business tax breaks of $2,400 to $9,600 for hiring unemployed veterans. The $120 million plan would also reportedly provide some job training. But while the idea is obviously well-intentioned, it’s been has been panned by economists as a feel-good but ultimately ineffective plan. The Hill reports:
But economists of all stripes are far from certain that jobs proposals aimed at veterans or other targeted groups will put much of a dent in the unemployment rate, which the Labor Department said Friday stood at 9.1 percent in July.
For their part, economic analysts say that the approach outlined by the White House would certainly give at least a little boost to the economy, but also stated that the benefits of the proposals seemed to be more political than economic.
According to economists, many of the firms likely to take up the government on this tax break are ones that would probably have been hiring anyway. “In one sense, it’s like rewarding the firms that are already doing the best,” the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams told The Hill. In the end, while this may give a minor, temporary boost to the unemployment rate, it doesn’t tackle the long-term problems.
Another plan Obama’s likely to point to on the bus tour is the job-creating free-trade agreements, which he’s been promoting for a few months now. The deals were penned under the Bush administration, and Republicans have been trying to push them through Congress since last winter. However, the agreements are strongly opposed by the labor unions, and it’s likely they’ll meet serious resistance from Democratic lawmakers.
The Hill reports the AFL-CIO is ratcheting up its opposition campaign, hosting 450 anti-trade deal events across the country during August recess in an attempt to increase grassroots pressure on Democrats.
With those as the two most serious job-creating plans the president has proposed recently, it’s no wonder employers aren’t feeling much confidence right now.