Last night, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to discuss his plan to generate jobs, instill some sense of confidence in the market, and give a greatly needed jolt to the U.S. economy. What was meant to be the "speech of all speeches" turned out to be politically charged campaign rhetoric designed to place the deteriorating economic situation on a do-nothing Congress.
From what was relayed in his speech, the "American Jobs Act" calls for approximately $450 billion to be spent over the next year on a number of initiatives that include infrastructure projects, tax credits for employee raises, an extension of jobless insurance, and money for the hiring of teachers nationwide.
First, let's discuss the positives. To the President's credit, he showed a willingness to work side by side with American businesses and acknowledged that there are many over-burdensome regulations that hinder business growth. His jobs plan calls for tax credits for business owners that hire unemployed workers and a 50% payroll tax cut for small businesses. These are certainly positive solutions that will support our business community and stimulate the economy.
Now, let's talk about the bad news. What was missing from the speech was an explanation as to how he will find the money to pay for these initiatives. How do we generate nearly one-and-a-half trillion dollars at the same time the Congressional "Super Committee" searches for over $1.5 trillion in cuts? Have we forgotten that our nation is bankrupt? Have we also forgotten that nearly 42% of Americans aren’t paying any taxes?
Let's take a look at some numbers. Currently, there are 14 million Americans that are unemployed. Approximately, 7.17 million of those potential workers are collecting unemployment insurance. Nearly 2.4 million jobs have been lost since President Obama took the oval office. The jobless rate in the U.S. has hovered around 9.0% or higher for 26 of the past 28 months. A good sign of how bad things are is the fact that long-term unemployment is at its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Releasing the stranglehold on America's oil and gas industry can generate those jobs and ensure sound economic growth without one tax increase.
In its recent study, the American Petroleum Institute found that U.S. policies which encourage the development and exploration of natural resources could, by 2030, increase domestic oil and natural gas production by over 10 million boed, generate 1.4 million jobs, and raise over $800 billion in government revenue.
In his speech, President Obama called for more products sold around the world stamped with the slogan, "Made in America." While our manufacturing sector has a long way to go, let's start simple by ensuring that the energy we consume here at home has the stamp, "Produced in America."
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