The President’s Speech

As the country appears in danger of a double dip recession with unemployment hovering around 9.1 %, President Obama went before a sharply divided congress to propose a $447 billion dollar plan to get the country’s economic engine humming. The President was at his best as an orator as he forcefully sold his plan as containing ideas that both parties have supported, and demanding that we as American’s rise above the acrimonious debate that has dominated the political landscape for most of his term. Obama is proposing substantive cuts in payroll taxes that fund the U.S. Social Security pension fund – something even Tea Party loyalist will find hard not to support.  The President says that his plan will work without pushing the U.S. further into debt. This is likely to be a point of contention as congress debates the proposal in coming weeks. If congress does not act on the bill, he promised to take it to the people directly.

“This plan is the right thing to do right now,” Obama told legislators on Capitol Hill. “You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.”

Getting House Republicans on board for any plan he may propose will be difficult at best.  Against such odds, the president framed the proposal as one in which only counterproductive partisan politics would keep the bill from passing .

“The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.”  Barack Obama, U.S. president.

The payroll tax cuts included in Obama’s package account for the lion share of the total jobs plan — about $240 billion of the $447 billion.

In addition, the package also includes:

$105 billion in public works spending, $49 billion to continue unemployment assistance to millions of Americans who are receiving extended benefits, $35 billion in local government aid to avoid layoffs of emergency personnel and teachers, $8 billion to fund a $4,000 tax credit for businesses that hire workers who have been out of work for more than six months.

Obama said the payroll tax cut alone would save an average family making $50,000 a year about $1,500.

White House officials said Obama would formally send The American Jobs Act to Congress next week.

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