What You Need To Know About Obama’s Jobs Plan
by Tyrus Townsend
On Thursday evening, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to propose his $447 billion American Jobs Act, which he hopes will lower the deficit, create new jobs and revive economic growth. If you are asking you if this feels like déjà vu, that’s because in some ways, it is.
If you may recall in 2009, President Obama proposed the original stimulus bill which involved a variety of tax cuts for small businesses, working individuals, increased spending on infrastructure, education and extended unemployment benefits. This new bill, however, will piggy back on his previous efforts and expand on the original proposal.
Of the $447 billion plan, $253 billion of that will go to tax cuts while the remaining $194 billion will specifically target new spending which includes infrastructure, modernizing our educational properties, surface transportation and much more. But what does this mean in laymen’s terms? According to CNN Money, “payroll tax cuts of 3.1%, $8 billion in tax credits to businesses, $50 billion in immediate funding for highways, transit, rail and aviation, working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower mortgage plans” and much more.
President Obama opened his speech by emphasizing the state of American suffering: “This past week, reporters have been asking, ‘What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election? But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.”
But did President Obama miss one key element during his mark when he addressed unemployment, specifically for the state of Black America? According to Rep. Maxine Waters, Obama chose not to highlight the African-American community, even though they make up 26% of the current unemployed or underemployed population. “I wanted him to say something about the intolerable rate of unemployment in the African-American community. He didn’t quite get there,” Waters told CBS News’ Scott Pelley in an interview on CBSNews.com immediately following the speech. “But he talked about long-term unemployed, he talked about disadvantaged youth.”
“I would have had even bigger plans, but it was a big plan and it included some of the ideas we have been pushing,” she said. And by ‘we’, she means the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have been extremely vocal about high unemployment rate in our community. Though extremely critical, the congresswoman seemed optimistic and supportive of our president in this time of economic crisis. “I do think we have a chance to do something substantive and to get at this terrible unemployment in this country,” Waters told Pelley. “I think he got it right.”
And for the sake of our country and our future, one can only hope so.