Jobs speech by Obama was great — but it just doesn’t add up
BY TERRY SAVAGE email@example.com September 9, 2011 12:58AM
- Sweet: Businesses, workers could get boost with payroll tax cut ideas
- Editorial: Obama pragmatic but won't roll over
Updated: May 3, 2013 12:15PM
This was the president’s best speech since the election. It was comprehensive and inspiring, and it was brilliantly titled “The American Jobs Act.”
It promised job opportunity for construction workers, teachers and veterans. It rebuilt bridges and schools. It promised we would sell our cars overseas (despite lower costs there). And it created an investment fund that would attract private dollars to fund “areas of need” (despite no incentives).
It adopted Republican principles by advocating a tax cut — cutting the payroll tax in half. And it promised that labor unions would not have to sacrifice collective bargaining.
The president acknowledged that business creates jobs, while recognizing that “we [in government] can help” the process along. The help comes in the form of a tax credit for hiring those who have been out of work. And in recognition of the prolonged period of joblessness, he proposed extending unemployment benefits.
Most of all the president proclaimed that the American Jobs Act would pay for itself. And that’s the problem:
The numbers simply don’t add up!
The spending cuts of last July will be increased. But those weren’t real cuts — only smaller spending increases than had previously been projected. And his promise that the “Super Committee” would be tasked to find even more spending cuts presumes they can find the required $1.5 trillion in the first place!
With all this additional spending, where will those cuts come from? The president notably didn’t mention the wars we are fighting or the defense budget.
Other attractive proposals are just contradictory when you do the math. If you cut the payroll tax, how can government pay promised Social Security benefits? And though he promised to deal with the rising cost of Medicare, he said nothing of the added costs of Obamacare.
Yet it was so appealing. I’m not alone, I’m sure, in wanting to accede to his repeated requests that Congress just pass the American Jobs Act. The president gets a top grade for inspiration. But a failing grade in math. And that’s the Savage Truth.