“Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington but by our businesses and our workers,” Obama said. “But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.”
Obama called on Congress to pass his $447 billion plan, called the American Jobs Act, without delay.
“The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working,” Obama said.
Included among Obama’s proposals are a number of tax cuts and credits for small businesses and workers, such as an extension of the payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the year.
Mike Bosma, a local CPA and managing shareholder of the Bosma Group, doesn’t believe this type of tax relief will do much to create jobs.
“ … Extending the employee payroll deduction is not enough to have a meaningful impact on a family’s personal finances, but is a significant cost to the Treasury,” he said. “With the uncertainty in the economy, most rational people are going to either save their excess cash or pay down debt, not buy things they don’t need to provide stimulus.”
Obama also proposed cutting the payroll tax rate for businesses and a tax cut that would incentivize small businesses that hire new workers, military veterans or raise workers’ wages.
The jobs bill also includes money to renovate, repair and modernize 35,000 schools across the country.
A sticky proposal includes extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.
“I can give you example upon example of many unemployed that are not actively looking for work,” Bosma said. “Their unemployment benefit is greater than what income they can earn from a job, less the costs of providing daycare. In the end, the government that pays people not to work should not be surprised that people are not working.”
Obama also called for more job training, one proposal Bosma is on board with.
“I love the idea of on-the-job training and re-tooling a skill set,” Bosma said. “Making this a mandatory program would overnight get people to work.”
Finally, Obama called for Medicare reform and closing tax loopholes. He said that his plan would be fully paid for with offsetting spending cuts in addition to the $1.5 trillion in cuts approved during the debt ceiling debate in August.
Bosma outlined his own plan.
“Don’t get people jobs with a jobs plan,” he said. “Get people back to business with a business plan. Make it easy for the unemployed to start a business, so they can find a product or service that is in demand, and teach them how to market, sell and do it.”
While some Republicans called Obama’s plan “Stimulus 2,” the GOP gave no formal response, with many holding their tongue until the full weight of the jobs act can be digested.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, said, “By taking action on tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes, passing a balanced budget amendment to get government spending under control, and reining in excessive job-killing regulations, would be a good start to moving our economy in the right direction and getting Nevadans back to work.”