Obama lays out details of jobs plan
It combines spending, tax incentives
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Tuesday presented the broad outlines of a new government effort to spur the creation of jobs, but he left the work of hammering out the specifics to Congress.
Obama called on Congress to work with him on approving a combination of new spending and tax incentives focused on three areas: helping small businesses expand; increasing investments in highways, bridges and other infrastructure; and adding incentives, particularly for consumers, for energy efficiency and green energy.
“There is only so much government can do,” Obama said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “Job creation will ultimately depend on the real job creators: businesses across America.
“But government can help lay the groundwork on which the private sector can better generate jobs, growth and innovation.”
Senior administration officials did not place a price tag on the plan but said the infrastructure component would cost about $50 billion. They suggested the upper limit might be $200 billion.
That’s the amount of money the Treasury Department estimates will be shaved from long-term deficit projections because of lower-than-anticipated losses from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
“This gives us a chance to pay down the deficit faster than we thought possible and to shift funds that would have gone to help the banks on Wall Street to help create jobs on Main Street,” Obama said.
The administration is not proposing to pay for job-creation plans directly using money from the $700 billion TARP fund. But the lower long-term cost of TARP frees up money to spend on job creation without adding to a projected $1.4 trillion budget deficit this year, senior administration officials said.
Some Republicans blasted Obama for not pumping all of the TARP savings, the result of more banks repaying their bailout money, into reducing the deficit, as the law that created the program requires.
“So now they want to use that $200 billion as another slush fund,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.