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Obama's jobs Plan/speech:How it compares with facts
#1
Here is what the Detroit Free Press has to say about Obama's speech and its substance.

Quote:WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's promise Thursday that everything in his jobs plan will be paid for rests on highly iffy propositions.

It will be paid for only if a committee he can't control does his bidding, if Congress puts that into law, and if leaders in the future -- the ones who will feel the fiscal pinch of his proposals -- don't roll it back.

Underscoring the gravity of the nation's high unemployment rate, Obama chose a joint session of Congress -- normally reserved for a State of the Union address -- to lay out his proposals. But if the moment was extraordinary, the plan he presented was conventional Washington rhetoric in one respect: It employs sleight-of-hand accounting.

Here's a look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:

Obama: "Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."

The facts
: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450-billion American Jobs Act, but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional super committee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near-term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future -- the "out years," in legislative jargon -- but did not offer specifics.

Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office come 2013 and beyond when bills start coming due. Today's Congress cannot bind a later one on future spending.

Currently, roughly all federal taxes and other revenues are consumed in spending on various federal benefit programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits, food stamps, farm subsidies and other social-assistance programs and payments on the national debt. Most everything else is done with borrowed money.

Obama: "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight."

The facts
: Obama's proposed cut in the Social Security payroll tax does seem likely to garner significant GOP support. But Obama proposes paying for the plan, in part, with tax increases that have already generated stiff Republican opposition.

For instance, Obama makes a pitch anew to end Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which he has defined as couples earning more than $250,000 a year or individuals earning more than $200,000 a year. Republicans have adamantly blocked what they view as new taxes. As recently as last month, House Republicans refused to go along with any deal to raise the government's borrowing authority that included new revenues, or taxes.

Obama: "It will not add to the deficit."

The facts
: It's hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery. Deficits are calculated for individual years. The accumulation of years of deficit spending has made a national debt headed toward $15 trillion.

Obama: "The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away."

The facts
: Not all of the president's major proposals are likely to yield quick job growth. One is to set up a national infrastructure bank to raise private capital for roads, rail, bridges, airports and waterways. Even supporters of such a bank doubt it could have much impact on jobs in the next two years. The idea is likely to run into GOP opponents who say such a bank would give the federal government too much power.
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#2
The Late Henry Hazlitt wrote a good deal about the many aspects of economics, and in particular about deficits and spending. Here is one of his essays on what Obama is trying to coerce congress into doing.

We have been violating these principles at our peril, and they are about to demand payment,.........soon.

Quote:What Spending and Deficits Do

by Henry Hazlitt


The direct cause of inflation is the issuance of an excessive amount of paper money. The most frequent cause of the issuance of too much paper money is a government budget deficit.

The majority of economists have long recognized this, but the majority of politicians have studiously ignored it. One result, in this age of inflation, is that economists have tended to put too much emphasis on the evils of deficits as such and too little emphasis on the evils of excessive government spending, whether the budget is balanced or not.

So it is desirable to begin with the question, What is the effect of government spending on the economy–even if it is wholly covered by tax revenues?

The economic effect of government spending depends on what the spending is for, compared with what the private spending it displaces would be for. To the extent that the government uses its tax-raised money to provide more urgent services for the community than the taxpayers themselves otherwise would or could have provided, the government spending is beneficial to the community. To the extent that the government provides policemen and judges to prevent or mitigate force, theft, and fraud, it protects and encourages production and welfare. The same applies, up to a certain point, to what the government pays out to provide armies and armament against foreign aggression. It applies also to the provision by city governments of sidewalks, streets, and sewers, and to the provision by States of roads, parkways, and bridges.

But government expenditure even on necessary types of service may easily become excessive. Sometimes it may be difficult to measure exactly where the point of excess begins. It is to be hoped, for example, that armies and armament may never need to be used, but it does not follow that providing them is mere waste. They are a form of insurance premium; and in this world of nuclear warfare and incendiary slogans it is not easy to say how big a premium is enough. The exigencies of politicians seeking re-election, of course, may very quickly lead to unneeded roads and other public works.

Welfare Spending

Waste in government spending in other directions can soon become flagrant. The money spent on various forms of relief, now called “social welfare,” is more responsible for the spending explosion of the U.S. government than any other type of outlay. In the fiscal year 1927, when total expenditures of the federal government were $2.9 billion, a negligible percentage of that amount went for so-called welfare. In fiscal 1977, when prospective total expenditures have risen to $394.2 billion-136 times as much–welfare spending alone (education, social services, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, veterans benefits, etc.) comes to $205.3 billion, or more than half the total. The effect of this spending is on net balance to reduce production, because most of it taxes the productive to support the unproductive.

As to the effect of the taxes levied to pay for the spending, all taxation must discourage production to some extent, directly or indirectly. Either it puts a direct penalty on the earning of income, or it forces producers to raise their prices and so diminish their sales, or it discourages investment, or it reduces the savings available for investment; or it does all of these.

Some forms of taxation have more harmful effects on production than others. Perhaps the worst is heavy taxation of corporate earnings. This discourages business and output; it reduces the employment that the politicians profess to be their primary concern; and it prevents the capital formation that is so necessary to increase real productivity, real income, real wages, real welfare. Almost as harmful to incentives and to capital formation is progressive personal income taxation. And the higher the level of taxation the greater the damage it does.

Disruption of the Economy

Let us consider this in more detail. The greater the amount of government spending, the more it depresses the economy. In so far as it is a substitute for private spending, it does nothing to “stimulate” the economy. It merely directs labor and capital into the production of less necessary goods or services at the expense of more necessary goods or services. It leads to malproduction. It tends to direct funds out of profitable capital investment and into immediate consumption. And most “welfare” spending, to repeat, tends to support the unproductive at the expense of the productive.

But more importantly, the higher the level of government spending, the higher the level of taxation. And the higher the level of taxation, the more it discourages, distorts, and disrupts production. It does this much more than proportionately. A 1 per cent sales tax, personal income tax, or corporation tax would do very little to discourage production, but a 50 per cent rate can be seriously disruptive. Just as each additional fixed increment of income will tend to have a diminishing marginal value to the receiver, so each additional subtraction from his income will mean a more than proportional deprivation and disincentive. The adjective “progressive” usually carries an approbatory connotation, but an income tax can appropriately be called “progressive” only in the sense that a disease can be called progressive. So far as its effect on incentives and production are concerned, such a tax is increasingly retrogressive or repressive.

Total Spending the Key

Though, broadly speaking, only a budget deficit tends to lead to inflation, the recognition of this truth has led to a serious underestimation of the harmfulness of an exorbitant level of total government spending. While a budget balanced at a level of $100 billion for both spending and tax revenues may be acceptable (at, say, 1977′s level of national income and dollar purchasing power), a budget balanced at a level above $400 billion may in the long run prove ruinous. In the same way, a deficit of $50 billion at a $400 billion level of spending is far more ominous than a deficit of the same size at a spending level of $200 billion.
An exorbitant spending level, in sum, can be as great or a greater evil than a huge deficit. Everything depends on their relative size, and on their combined size compared with the national income.

Let us look first at the effect of a deficit as such. That effect will depend in large part on how the deficit is financed. Of course if, with a given level of spending, a deficit of, say, $50 billion is then financed by added taxation, it ceases by definition to be a deficit. But it does not follow that this is the best course to take. Whenever possible (except, say, in the midst of a major war) a deficit should be eliminated by reducing expenditures rather than by increasing taxes, because of the harm the still heavier taxes would probably do in discouraging and disorganizing production.

It is necessary to emphasize this point, because every so often some previous advocate of big spending suddenly turns “responsible,” and solemnly tells conservatives that if they want to be equally responsible it is now their duty to “balance the budget” by raising taxes to cover the existing and planned expenditures. Such advice completely begs the question. It tacitly assumes that the existing or planned level of expenditures, and all its constituent items, are absolutely necessary, and must be fully covered by increased taxes no matter what the cost in economic disruption.

We have had 39 deficits in the 47 fiscal years since 1931. The annual spending total has gone up from $3.6 billion in 1931 to $394.2 billion-110 times as much–in 1977. Yet the argument that we must keep on balancing this multiplied spending by equally multiplied taxation continues to be regularly put forward. The only real solution is to start slashing the spending before it destroys the economy.

Two Ways to Pay

Given a budget deficit, however, there are two ways in which it can be paid for. One is for the government to pay for its deficit outlays by printing and distributing more money. This may be done either directly, or by the government’s asking the Federal Reserve or the private commercial banks to buy its securities and to pay for them either by creating deposit credits or with newly issued inconvertible Federal Reserve notes. This of course is simple, naked inflation.

Or the deficit may be paid for by the government’s selling its bonds to the public, and having them paid for out of real savings. This is not directly inflationary, but it merely leads to an evil of a different kind. The government borrowing competes with and “crowds out” private capital investment, and so retards economic growth.

Let us examine this a little more closely. There is at any given time a total amount of actual or potential savings available for investment. Government statistics regularly give estimates of these. The gross national product in 1974, for example, is given as $1,499 billion. Gross private saving was $215.2 billion-14.4 per cent of this–of which $74 billion consisted of personal saving and $141.6 billion of gross business saving. But the Federal budget deficit in that year was $11.7 billion, and in 1975 $73.4 billion, seriously cutting down the amount that could go into the capital investment necessary to increase productivity, real wages, and real long-run consumer welfare.

Sources and Uses of Capital

The government statistics estimate the amount of gross private domestic investment in 1974 at $215 billion and in 1975 at $183.7 billion. But it is probable that the greater part of this represented mere replacement of deteriorated, worn-out, or obsolete plant, equipment, and housing, and that new capital formation was much smaller.

Let us turn to the amount of new capital supplied through the security markets. In 1973, total new issues of securities in the United States came to $99 billion. Of these, $32 billion consisted of private corporate stocks and bonds, $22.7 billion of state and local bonds and notes, $1.4 billion of bonds of foreign governments, and $42.9 billion of obligations of the U.S. government or of its agencies. Thus of the combined total of $74.9 billion borrowed by the U.S. government and by private industry, the government got 57 per cent, and private industry only 43 per cent.

The crowding-out argument can be stated in a few elementary propositions.

1. Government borrowing competes with private borrowing.
2. Government borrowing finances government deficits.
3. What the government borrows is spent chiefly on consumption, but what private industry borrows chiefly finances capital investment.
4. It is the amount of new capital investment that is chiefly responsible for the improvement of economic conditions.

The possible total of borrowing is restricted by the amount of real savings available. Government borrowing crowds out private borrowing by driving up interest rates to levels at which private manufacturers who would otherwise have borrowed for capital investment are forced to drop out of the market.
Why the Deficits?

Yet government spending and deficits keep on increasing year by year. Why? Chiefly because they serve the immediate interests of politicians seeking votes, but also because the public still for the most part accepts a set of sophistical rationalizations.

The whole so-called Keynesian doctrine may be summed up as the contention that deficit spending, financed by borrowing, creates employment, and that enough of it can guarantee “full” employment. The American people have even had foisted upon them the myth of a “full-employment budget.” This is the contention that projected Federal expenditures and revenues need not be, and ought not to be, those that would bring a real balance of the budget under actually existing conditions, but merely those that would balance the budget if there were “full employment.”

To quote a more technical explanation (as it appears, for example, in the Economic Report of the President of January, 1976): “Full employment surpluses or deficits are the differences between what receipts and expenditures are estimated to be if the economy were operating at the potential output level consistent with a 4 per cent unemployment” (p. 54).

A table in that report shows what the differences would have been for the years 1969 to 1975, inclusive, between the actual budget and the so-called full employment budget. For the calendar year 1975, for example, actual receipts were $283.5 billion and expenditures $356.9 billion, leaving an actual budget deficit of $73.4 billion. But in conditions of full employment, receipts from the same tax rates might have risen to $340.8 billion, and expenditures might have fallen to $348.3 billion, leaving a deficit not of $73.4 billion but only of $7.5 billion. Nothing to worry about.

Priming the Pump

Nothing to worry about, perhaps, in a dream world. But let us return to the world of reality. The implication of the full-employment budget philosophy (though it is seldom stated explicitly) is not only that in a time of high unemployment it would make conditions even worse to aim at a real balance of the budget, but that a full-employment budget can be counted on to bring full employment.

The proposition is nonsense. The argument for it assumes that the amount of employment or unemployment depends on the amount of added dollar “purchasing power” that the government decides to squirt into the economy. Actually the amount of unemployment is chiefly determined by entirely different factors–by the relations in various industries between selling prices and costs, between particular prices and particular wage-rates; by the wage-rates exacted by strong unions and strike threats; by the level and duration of unemployment insurance and relief payments (making idleness more tolerable or attractive); by the existence and height of legal minimum-wage rates, and so on. But all these factors are persistently ignored by the full-employment budgeteers and by all the other advocates of deficit spending as the great panacea for unemployment.

One-Way Formula

It may be worth while, before we leave this subject, to point to one or two of the practical consequences of a consistent adherence to a full employment-budget policy. In the twenty-eight years from 1948 to 1975 inclusive, there were only eight in which unemployment fell below the government target-level of 4 per cent. In all the other years the full-employment-budgeteers (perhaps we should call them the fulembudgers for short) would have prescribed an actual deficit. But they say nothing about achieving a surplus in the full-employment years, much less about its desirable size. Presumably they would consider any surplus at all, any repayment of the government debt, as extremely dangerous at any time. So a prescription for full-employment budgeting might not produce very different results in practice from a prescription for perpetual deficit.

Perhaps an even worse consequence is that as long as this prescription prevails, it can only act to divert attention from the real causes of unemployment and their real cure.

Perhaps a word needs to be said about the fear of a surplus that has developed in recent decades–ever since about 1930, in fact. This of course is only the reverse side of the myth that a deficit is needed to “stimulate” the economy by “creating purchasing power.” The only way in which a surplus could do even temporary harm would be by bringing about a sudden substantial reduction in the money supply. It could do this only if the bonds paid off were those held by the banking system against which demand deposits had been created. But in 1976, out of a gross public debt of $620.4 billion, $92.3 billion were held by commercial banks and $94.4 billion by Federal Reserve banks. This left $433.7 billion, or about 70 per cent, in nonbanking hands. This could be retired, say over fifty years, without shrinking the money supply in the least. And if the public debt were retired at a rate of $5 billion or $10 billion a year, private holders would have that much more to invest in private industry.

The Phillips Curve

A myth even more pernicious than the full-employment budget, and akin to it in nature, is the Phillips Curve. This is the doctrine that there is a “trade-off” between employment and inflation, and that this can be plotted on a precise curve–that the less inflation, the more unemployment, and the more inflation the less unemployment. But this incredible doctrine is more directly related to currency issue than to government spending and deficits, and can best be examined elsewhere.

In conclusion: Chronic excessive government spending and chronic huge deficits are twin evils. The deficits lead more directly to inflation, and therefore in recent years they have tended to receive a disproportionate amount of criticism from economists and editorial writers. But the total spending is the greater evil, because it is the chief political cause of the deficits. If the spending were more moderate, the taxes to pay for it would not have to be so oppressive, so damaging to incentive, so destructive of employment and production. So the persistence and size of deficits, though serious, is a derivative problem; the primary evil is the exorbitant spending, the Leviathan “welfare” state. If the spending were brought within reasonable bounds, the taxes to pay for it would not have to be so burdensome and demoralizing, and politicians could be counted on to keep the budget balanced.

Henry Hazlitt, noted economist, author, editor, reviewer and columnist, is well known to readers of the New York Times, Newsweek, The Freeman, Barron’s, Human Events and many others. Best known of his books are Economics in One Lesson, The Failure of the “New Economics,” The Foundations of Morality, and What You should Know About Inflation.
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#3
It's embarrassing for the GOP to reject O's proposals (as they are supposed to do automaticaly) without betraying ideologicaly thei voter base.
The problem is that O' is proposing things that republican voters want. It's therefore more complicated for the GOP to block all decisions to help the economy without thinking.

It will be also more risky for the GOP to let the US sink into recession just because they don't want the end of tax cut for the riches. It won't be very popular when the presidential campain will start.

O' is going more and more to the right. He may also break with his voter base, if not already. But his actions are logical and expected from a leader, from someone who want to fix the economy.

Economicaly, O' is taking the right decision with the very little money he has at his disposal.
$450 Billion is a calculated sum based on what he can afford without worsening the deficit too much and what is needed to have an effect. You could argue that since the top priority is reducing the deficit this sum should be zero or any number under zero, but reducing the deficit alone won't help the economy or create jobs. You need to cut the deficit when the economy can afford to do it, not when the economy is in contraction.
When the economy is good you should even cut the debt principal on top of the deficit.

The mistake of Reagan, Bush, Clinton and W, was not reducing the debt while they could afford and increased it instead. They had an economy and tax revenues which didn't obliged them to borrow, yet they borrowed for up two $12 billion! That was illogical.

You can argue that O' claims that the bill will be paid in the future. That's true but all 4 presidents were thinking the same. With the difference that they didn't need money to avoid a double dip recession. The US does need this money right now and can't have it.

Those who say that O' is just pushing the same plan again and again are ignorant.
O' is not talking about bail outs or more money for the banks or any of subprime crisis era action which did nothing for jobs. His plan now is very different.

He is realy targeting the job tax directly. It's the first time.
He's also specificaly caring of school teachers jobs, which is the best investment a nation can do to safeguard its future.
The bridge and road aid is not new, but it's also a very small part of the stimulus (10%), and it's a good time to do it.

If you are afraid of deficit, I'll say, let the Fed print these $450B, and even print some more, because they will be well used.
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#4
Fred, what are you smoking?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#5
Obama hasn't actually proposed anything, except spending 450 billion dollars that we don't have that will be paid for in a way we will find out about in a week or two, to be spent on stuff that we will find out about the same time as we find out how it will be paid for.

But vote for it now, since it's an emergency.

Where have we heard this before?
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#6
Key economic developement factors are:
1/ Political stability
2/ Freedom of trade and business (not too much regulation)
3/ Infrastructure
4/ Schools

Low taxes would come first of course, but taxes are a separate factor because the economy feeds the tax. So better economy mens also more taxes or more taxable assets.
When you have all the conditions above filled, the economy does enough well to allow a moderate increase in tax. Today these conditions are not met anymore in the US.
Schools are weak, employers can't find enough qualified worker for new tech jobs, roads are terrible (from what I read), lot of regulatory burden, politicians are dug in into their position more than ever.

You can't afford to have a high tax rate in a weak economy.
On top of taking more debt as I explained above, W also made tax cuts at a time when it was not realy necessary.
Today these tax cuts are bedly needed, but they don't come as something new. It's hard for O' to implement even more tax cuts, but he does it nonetheless.

Tax cuts has been the center of his stimulus packages for 2 years, especialy today.
How the republican can be against O's taxcuts is beyond me. But they will oppose it just for the sake of opposing it.

This last stimulus proposal should be voted because it's the best you can have. Of course you can always say "No stimulus, we have a debt to pay".
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#7
Since he hasn't actually made any tax cuts, it won't be hard.
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#8
Ah! Ok...
Won't talk economics or us politics here.
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#9
Fredledingue Wrote:Key economic developement factors are:
1/ Political stability
2/ Freedom of trade and business (not too much regulation)
3/ Infrastructure
4/ Schools...
Obama's speech was terrible. None of his speechwriters recognized the similarity of Pelosi's call to pass the bill so we can learn what it says. He said, "Pass it now" seventeen or eighteen times, without really saying what it was that had to be passed.

He did a whole rant on class warfare - then said he wasn't doing what he did.

The man's a clown.
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#10
The man's a genius.

His speech amounted to pass-something-I-donno-what-but-it-will-cost-a-load-of-money.

Now he can run in 2012 against the republican house that sabotaged the recovery. S6
Sanders 2020

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#11
But not very well. Even the leftards are having problems believing anything dips**t says.
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#12
The only way to save America is that all who hate Obama goes on strike indefinetly. All those who hate Obama: 1/2 of the US. Like that the GDP could be divided by two, creating a huge recession, perhapes a Real Great Recession and voters won't vote for him next time.

Pray for a recession, higher unemployement and higher gasoline price in the US so that Satan O' wont' be president a second term!
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#13
Perhaps the two groups could secede from each other? That would mean the Leftists can have Kalifornia, Oregon, Washington, New York, Vermont, Mass, New Jersey, and perhaps Maryland. The rest could form their own country?

It's a thought.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#14
I have a better idea. Why doesn't everyone who loves Obama go on strike. Or would anyone actually notice they were not working?
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#15
Here is how you pay for $447B spent this year. You pay for it over a 10 year period. Pie in the sky. Kick the can down the road.

Quote: A limit on itemized deductions and certain exemptions on individuals who earn over $200,000 and families who earn over $250,000, which would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years.
A proposal to treat carried interest earned by investment fund managers as ordinary income rather than taxing it at capital gains rates, which would raise $18 billion.
Eliminating certain oil and gas industry tax breaks that would raise $40 billion.
A change in corporate jet depreciation rules that would raise $3 billion.

So, the upper end of the middle class gets whacked, a favorite and recurring dream of BHO.

LINK
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#16
Speaking of the Obamas and money, how much do you think you and I paid for Michelle Obama to appear on Extreme Makeover Home Edition?
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#17
I missed that episode... on purpose.
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#18
Taxing the rich and the oil industry, how anti-american it is! Even worst than helping pro-al-Qaida rebels in Lybia!

It's high time for the governement to start doing nothing to help the economy. It's urgent to do nothing from now on.
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#19
Obama faces skepticism from swing voters: poll
Quote:Obama is pushing a $450 billion job-creation bill in an effort to boost the economy and drive down the 9.1 percent unemployment rate as he faces low approval ratings and deep economic unease among voters.

Many economists say higher government spending now would boost growth in the sputtering economy while lawmakers work on a long-term plan to tame the national debt.

Swing voters do not agree with this view, the poll found. Half of those surveyed said reducing the deficit or scaling back regulations would be the most effective way to create jobs, while only 16 percent said that increased spending on construction and innovation would be the best approach.

Those views line up with those held by congressional Republicans. However, swing voters largely back Obama's call to raise taxes on the wealthy to help reduce deficits, the poll found.
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#20
Obama's plan is not yet a plan. It is not submitted through Congress. Even it's official name has been appropriated by another bill put through by the GOP, which has been legally introduced. Obama's "bill" at this point is just a sheet of paper and a prop for talking points.

Boehner has accepted the gambit and in an attempt to diffuse the strategy has said there are points within the plan that can be discussed. Obama does not want the bill passed - he just wants a scapegoat to blame for his own failures. So long as he can claim his ideas would have worked except for GOP obstructionism, then he has a platform he can run on. The Leftwing extremist within the President's own party have no problem with this bill. There is little in it for their ideology to denounce, but they will do the wink and nod to act like it is anathema to the extremist cause to give the bill negative credence to the right-leaning public. They need the failure of the bill to give cover to every calamity they have caused. Limbaugh said the bill is dead on arrival - but hopes Boehner's plan is to string it out to its silent demise - at the hands of both parties - rather than leave GOP fingerprints on it for Obama to exploit.

Obama doesn't care. If it stalls, he can blame the GOP. If it passes, he has new revenue for his personal spending spree.
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