In a speech at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday President Obama – without giving specifics or numbers and staying away from the term “stimulus” – outlined his plan to spur job creation against the background of a still-ailing employment market. While the package contains a few small and temporary tax cuts, the bulk of the package is more of the same Keynesian spending along the same lines of the last “stimulus” package, in the wake of which unemployment had surged to currently 10.2 percent at its highest just several weeks ago.
Among the tax cuts are dropping the capital gains rate for small business investments to zero for one year, and extending expensing for small business otherwise set to expire at the end of the year. The rest of his package, however, consists of a flood of new infrastructure spending, new spending for weatherization projects and green jobs, and more money to further extend unemployment benefits, COBRA and more money for state and local governments.
The President suggested that repaid funds of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) could be used to pay for part of his plans – rather than repaying the money to the Treasury, as the original law stipulated.
Here’s what ATR president Grover Norquist had to say:
What the President is largely doing here, is putting lipstick on a pig. The last “stimulus” package was a failure even by the Administration’s own standards of preventing unemployment from going over 8 percent. The package has been growing government at all levels while leaving the private sector in the cold. Now the President wants to throw businesses a bone with a few small tax cuts, but largely continue his spending and debt spree to grow government on the backs of American businesses and families, while turning TARP into a revolving slush fund.
We are reminded of what a smart person once said: ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ If he were serious about job creation, he would look at dropping his job-killing and tax-hiking healthcare, cap-and-trade and card check initiatives and embrace free-market solutions instead.
Click here for the press release in PDF.