The federal government should give tax breaks to small businesses in order to hasten job creation, President Barack Obama said Tuesday as part of his latest plan to fight stubbornly high unemployment. The president also called for further spending on infrastructure and investments in energy efficiency.
Just don't call it a stimulus plan.
With unemployment at nearly a three-decade high and expected to remain elevated for at least another year, Obama unveiled the administration's latest ideas to boost hiring, the centerpiece of which is tax breaks for small businesses. Capital-gains taxes on new investments made by small businesses would be cut to zero for a year. Small businesses would also get a yet-to-be-determined tax break to spur them to hire more workers.
"The federal government should cut taxes on small businesses to encourage them to invest and hire more workers," Obama said at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
The president also wants to spend an additional $50 billion on the nation's infrastructure -- namely transportation and communications systems -- and give tax rebates to folks who retrofit their homes to make them more green. Additionally, Obama wants to extend existing programs that provide unemployment insurance and health insurance to the nation's jobless.
"There are more than seven million fewer Americans with jobs today than when this recession began," Obama said. "And it speaks to an urgent need to accelerate job growth in the short term while laying a new foundation for lasting economic growth."
The president put no price tag on the latest proposals, but they would be partly offset by the unexpected savings on the Troubled Asset Relief Plan, which the Treasury now says will cost $200 billion less than expected.
The White House isn't calling the president's new job creation proposals a stimulus plan, and that's probably just as well. The unemployment rate has risen to 10% from 8.1% since Obama and the Democratic Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus in February. Using the "S" word would only give more ammunition to Republicans and deficit hawks -- not to mention the nation's jobless.
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