President Obama today signed the $18 billion Hiring Incentives to
Restore Employment Act, better known as the "jobs" bill, which attracted
a remarkable 11 Republican votes in the rarely bipartisan Senate. The
meager bill isn't expected to single-handedly save the U.S. economy,
even if it was pleasantly bipartisan. So what will it do?
Nice But Not Enough Even President Obama couldn't muster great
enthusiasm. He said upon signing, "While
this jobs bill is absolutely necessary, it is by no means enough. There
is a lot more we need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and
bring about a full economic recovery; from helping creditworthy small
businesses get the loans they need to expand, to offering incentives to
make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, to investing in
infrastructure so we can put Americans to work doing the work America
needs done." Obama said he was "grateful" for the Republicans who voted
for the bill.
- Looks Great, Does Little The Atlantic's Derek Thompson separates
the good politics from the middling policy. "What it looks like is
good. It's bipartisan (11 Republicans voted for it) and it's pro-active
about reducing unemployment. What it can actually do is not so good. For
$18 billion in hiring tax credits, the Congressional Budget Office
predicted we won't create more than 300,000 jobs. Optimistically, this
moves forward our job creation by about a month and a half."
- Just a Small First Step This is the conventional wisdom and has been
admitted even by the White House, according to NBC News' Athena Jones.
"While acknowledging the $17.6 billion jobs bill was 'by no means
enough' and that more must be done to jump-start hiring in the private
sector, the president said the measures included in the bill would
- Reveals Futility of Legislating Job Growth Time's Barbara Kiviat insists
that legislation won't directly solve the jobs problem. "Private
enterprise is the great American job-creation machine. The best thing
Congress can do at this point is get out of the way—and getting out of
the way includes making a decision (any decision, for crying out loud)
about what health care will look like going forward."
Jobs? Kill Health Care Reform Grover Norquist and David Tuerck make the
counter-intuitive case that, because "One in eight Americans now work in
the health-care sector" and because "it has been almost the only sector
of the economy to add jobs during the recession," reining in health
care's wild inefficiencies would be bad for jobs.
On the jobs bill the Senate conferred,
friends on the right
Slowly backed out of sight,
‘Til at last
the poor Senator concurred.
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