this post was supposed to be about the American Jobs Act. Turns out… I feel the need to define my position first. I consider myself an Independent, I lean Conservative, and seem to identify the best with the Tea Party. With that in mind… here’s my rundown of the American Jobs Act.
“Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.” -Tony Snow
“A liberal is a man who is willing to spend somebody else’s money.”- Carter Glass
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” -Will Rogers
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” -JFK
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.” -Emma Goldman
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” – Dante Alighieri
“You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.”-Daniel Hannan
- Tax Cuts- Cutting payroll taxes to 3.1% is good. A “holiday” on payroll tax for growth over the previous year is good. Allowing firms to take deductions on new equipment and plants (manufacturing I’m assuming) is good. I like decreased taxes. I think allowing small businesses to grow will help the economy. Go for it.(1)
- Tax Credits- Proposed tax credits (up to $ 15200) to companies who hire veterans that have been unemployed for more than 6months (2). I flip-flop on this issue. I know our returning veterans need/ deserve our support, and decreasing unemployment is always a good idea… but I can’t get behind more tax breaks.
- Public Servents- $30 billion to prevent 280,000 teachers from being laid-off and to hire “tens of thousands more”. $5 billion to hire/ keep public safety and first responders (2). Still haven’t found where this $$ is coming from. I like teachers and I like being safe. I like people in my community to have jobs. I think this is a complicated issue tho. Teachers should be hired/ kept based on merit, and class size (the need for more teachers), but I’m not convinced that running public schools is the federal governments business… more on that next.
- Public Schools- $30 billion to modernize 35,000 + schools. This includes rural schools, Bureau of Indian Education funded schools, and community colleges. ” Funds could be used for a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade technology in our schools”. (2) How about you skip adding the internet in classrooms… and buy them unbiased textbooks? Why is the federal government paying for greening upgrades?
- Roads, Rails, Airports- $50 billion to modernize our infrastructure, which has a grade of D. That $ will give “hundreds of thousands” of construction workers jobs. “It will also take special steps to enhance infrastructure-related job training opportunities for people from underrepresented groups and make sure that small businesses can compete for infrastructure contracts.” (2) Go here for the definition of an underrepresented group. This section also doesn’t say where the $ is coming from, or which departments and agencies are picking these projects. This sounds like a national version of Boston’s “Big Dig”.
- National Infrastructure Bank- $10 billion (start-up) to invest in significant regional or national projects. Private and public capital will be invested in these projects (2). Can it really be done without earmarks or political influence?
- Project Rebuild- $15 billion investment to refurbish “hundreds of thousands” foreclosed/ vacant homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreclosures, using the private sector. The intention is to “create” construction jobs & stabilize the housing market, while reducing crime (2). I’m honestly confused on where the investment is going. Who is going to buy the recently fixed up houses? Are more bad loans going to be given out? Which neighborhoods? Why is it the federal government’s job to fix houses that have been foreclosed on?
- Expanding Access to High-Speed Internet(2)- you get the hint. At least there isn’t billions of dollars being spent in this section (that we know of).
- Unemployment Insurance (UI) Reform- More rigorous reemployment assistance from each state. Increased “work-sharing” (reducing all employees hours) to decrease lay-offs. “Additional funds” for states that have “Bridge to Work” programs, which allow the long-term unemployed to continue to receive UI while working temporarily or pursuing work based training. (3) Why aren’t the additional funds a specific amount, and why are people allowed to collect while they are working? shouldn’t you have to reapply?
- More Tax Credits- $4000 for hiring a person who has been unemployed for over 6months.(3)
- Investing in people with Low-Income- The Pathways Back to Work Fund will support jobs for low-income youth, subsidized jobs for low-income unemployed adults, and local work-based training initiatives for low-income people. (3) OK with me, but how much does it cost!?
- Cutting Payroll Taxes- starting next year, 160 million workers will receive tax cuts of $1500 for a typical family earning $50,ooo. Social Security will still receive the same amount, transferred from the General Fund. (4) We’ve already established how I feel about more tax cuts…
- Refinancing Mortgages- working with Frannie & Freddie Mac (SERIOUSLY!?) to help people get “historically low” interest rates, allowing them to stay in their homes. (4) Ummm… didn’t Fannie & Freddie help get us into the housing market crash in the first place?!