With the economy still reeling from unemployment at 10.2 percent , Democrats and progressives are battling a barrage of GOP-driven misinformation about the first $787 billion stimulus plan as they look to create a new, targeted, fast-acting jobs program, possibly before Christmas. Aiming to cash in – literally – on growing public anger over joblessness, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich separately returned last week to the Republican nostrum of wide-ranging tax cuts, mostly for the rich, as the answer to every problem under the sun – in this case, unemployment. Yet as economist Lawrence Mishel, the director of the progressive Economic Policy Institute, observed, “These are tried and failed policies. We already lowered the capital gains tax, lowered corporate tax rates, lowered inheritance taxes under George W. and it’s absurd to believe that somehow this would stimulate jobs. They’re not even related to jobs.”
New Consensus Sees Stimulus Package as Worthy StepNow that unemployment has topped 10 percent, some liberal-leaning economists see confirmation of their warnings that the $787 billion stimulus package President Obama signed into law last February was way too small. The economy needs a second big infusion, they say.No, some conservative-leaning economists counter, we were right: The package has been wasteful, ineffectual and even harmful to the extent that it adds to the nation’s debt and crowds out private-sector borrowing.These long-running arguments have flared now that the White House and Congressional leaders are talking about a new “jobs bill.” But with roughly a quarter of the stimulus money out the door after nine months, the accumulation of hard data and real-life experience has allowed more dispassionate analysts to reach a consensus that the stimulus package, messy as it is, is working.The legislation, a variety of economists say, is helping an economy in free fall a year ago to grow again and shed fewer jobs than it otherwise would. Mr. Obama’s promise to “save or create” about 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 is roughly on track, though far more jobs are being saved than created, especially among states and cities using their money to avoid cutting teachers, police officers and other workers.“It was worth doing — it’s made a difference,” said Nigel Gault, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, a financial forecasting and analysis group based in Lexington, Mass.Mr. Gault added: “I don’t think it’s right to look at it by saying, ‘Well, the economy is still doing extremely badly, therefore the stimulus didn’t work.’ I’m afraid the answer is, yes, we did badly but we would have done even worse without the stimulus.”
Yet all that hasn’t stopped Newt Gingrich’s front group for billionaires, American Solutions for Winning the Future, from issuing a dramatic appeal for donations in an email alert enclosing his bold new jobs plan. Offering his would-be donors the illusion of being inside policy-makers, Gingrich’s sweeping cure for what ails us was billed as an “internal jobs memo”:
To: American Solutions Staff
From: Newt Gingrich
Subject: The Way Ahead
The road to economic recovery starts with job creation.
Today, unemployment stands at 10.2% and shows no sign of decreasing. The Obama Administration and the job killing Congress fail to understand we are in a crisis situation. Their efforts to create American jobs failed while spending $787 billion on stimulus that they claimed would cap unemployment at 8%. Taxpayers have only higher unemployment and larger budget deficits to show as a result of our big spending administration and Congress.
Fortunately, we can do something about it.
We’ve seen dozens of Democrats defect from their party’s leadership on key job killing votes like the Energy Tax and ObamaCare. This is a sign that a “Commonsense Majority” is starting to build within Congress. Through continued pressure by citizens concerned about the direction our nation is headed, I believe we can build a majority in Congress that will bring the current job killing agenda of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama to a screeching halt.We can pass meaningful job creation measures like an immediate payroll tax cut, incentives for small business, the elimination of taxes on capital gains, a reduction in the corporate tax rate, the abolition of the death tax, and steps to balance the federal budget.
I strongly encourage you to read this memo and join our cause. There are many different ways to get involved in the coming months, but we would greatly appreciate your financial support to help us kick-off this effort. You can make a donation by clicking here.
Fox & Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson parroted a House Republican press release and repeated its claim that the stimulus impact is “6 million jobs shy of what the administration promised us” since the administration stated “that 3.5 million jobs would be created. And, in fact, the United States has lost 2.7 million since the stimulus plan.” However, the administration estimated that by 2011 – not September 2009, when the 2.7 million job losses since February were recorded – 3.5 million jobs would be created or saved by the stimulus compared to the number of jobs that would have existed at the end of 2010 had the government not passed the legislation….
2. Incentives for Small Business Investment. Allow small businesses to expense 100 percent of new equipment purchases each year to help them invest in new, more productive technologies.
3. Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains. If we want to compete with China and have most productive factories in the world, the best jobs, and the highest take home pay, we should match China’s capital gains rate of zero. This would dramatically increase investment in America.
4. Reduce the Corporate Tax Rate. When you combine state and federal taxes, America has the highest corporate tax structure in the world. We believe that by matching the Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, America would be the most desirable economy in the world to open a factory, create a new job, and develop a new product.