Obama’s Plan to Create Jobs – I’m sorry, what am I missing here?

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President Obama, delivering yet another speech, this time at Brookings, announced his plan to create jobs and I feel like I live on a different planet than he does… and it’s starting to feel lonely, frankly.

I’m not trying to be difficult, Lord knows the man has plenty of people giving him a hard time these days, but… he’s hard to listen to at times, is he not?  I start out listening, try to focus… and then he says stuff and everyone claps and I feel like my hearing aid must not be working… and at 48, I don’t wear a hearing aid.

He said that government could set the stage for private businesses to start hiring again, which I thought sounded pretty good, and then he talked about small business being the engine that drives the country… blah, blah, blah.  Okay, so fine.  What’s he going to do?  Glad you asked.

Obama kicked it off proposing a new tax cut for small businesses that hire someone in 2010, and the elimination, for one year, of the capital gains tax on profits from small-business investments.  Everyone clapped.  Yay!

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Okay, so now he’s in favor of tax cuts to stimulate the economy?  Damn it, I was sure that last January when he was talking about his economic stimulus bill, that it was the Republicans that were… oh, never mind, he’s just getting started.  Better give it a chance.

The thing is, I happen to be a small business owner, have been for the last 20 years or so.  And I thought I knew something about small businesses in this country as a result.  So… why would a small business hire someone because of a tax cut next year?  Isn’t the reason we’re not hiring because people aren’t spending?  Like, if we give Best Buy a tax cut will they build more stores and hire more people?  Because I thought the reason Best Buy hasn’t been expanding had something to do with people not buying stuff.  No?  It’s a tax-related reason that’s holding Best Buy back?  Fascinating.  I hadn’t heard.

Oh yeah, and if you’re a small business owner and you have any investment profits this year on which you’re being burdened by the capital gains tax, could you please write to me and tell me what I’m doing wrong.  I’d really appreciate it.

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Obama also proposed an elimination of fees on loans to small businesses, coupled with federal guarantees of those loans through the end of next year.  What loans to small businesses is he talking about?  Where are the loans?  I don’t know a single small business owner even talking about a loan.  Again, it’s probably me… I’ve been busy and perhaps I missed a flyer or something.

After that, he called for more government spending on infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and water projects.

More spending?  Didn’t we just pass his $787 billion economic stimulus bill at the end of last January?  Wasn’t that supposed to be for all that infrastructure stuff?   How many bridges are broken?  How many have been fixed at this point?  We need more fixing?  I’m getting scared to drive anywhere there’s a bridge in this country.  Besides, I thought we hadn’t even spent the $787 billion yet.   Shows you what I know…

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Next, Obama said he wanted new tax breaks for homeowners who invest in energy-efficient retrofits in their homes.  Administration officials have referred to it as a “Cash for Caulkers” program, so it has a cute moniker.  Let’s just hope it’s not modeled after the good old Cash for Clunkers program where people were supposed to trade in cars for more fuel efficient models, but instead mostly ended up buying pick-up trucks that didn’t get much better mileage than the car they traded in.

He also said that he and congressional Democrats took “a series of difficult steps” to try to stabilize the financial system and pull the economy out of a deep recession, and I guess that it probably was difficult to do exactly what the banking lobby wanted at every single turn.  Must make you feel like Wall Street’s bitch.

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Obama did not say how much his new proposals would cost, although Yahoo News reported that congressional Democrats are looking at a $70 billion package to help create jobs and to provide aid to hard-pressed state and local governments.  The administration apparently added that the roads, bridges and other infrastructure component could total about $50 billion.

Okay… time out.  Another $50 billion for roads, bridges and other infrastructure?  I’m so confused.  Wasn’t a big part of the $787 billion stimulus supposed to go for roads and bridges.  I feel like all we’ve done since he’s been president is pay for roads and bridges.  And the help state and local governments again too?  Wasn’t that like almost half of the economic stimulus.

What about the housing crisis?  What have we spent to stop the flood of foreclosures that have made my home worth half what it was two years ago?  Is he fixing the roads and bridges because he knows we’ll all soon be homeless and therefore living on the roads and sleeping under the bridges?

He referred to the bank bailout, or Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), as “galling,” saying:  “There has rarely been a less loved — or more necessary — emergency program.”

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The problem I have with this statement should be obvious.  Since the TARP chief, Elizabeth Warren has made it clear that we’ll NEVER know where the money went or what it was used for, how can he be so damn sure that there has rarely been anything more necessary?  And what does he mean by “galling”.  Galling for who, exactly?

Then he went over the line.  He claimed the TARP program is costing taxpayers at least $200 billion less than expected, which is weird since I had thought that we were expecting to get ALL of our money back at some point.  I thought we might even make a profit, wasn’t that what everyone was saying about the TARP way back when, a year ago?  How could it cost $200 billion less than we thought, when we thought it wouldn’t cost anything in the long run?  It wasn’t a gift, was it?  (Don’t answer that.)

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Talking about the $200 billion unexpected savings on TARP, which I don’t believe a frigging word of, Obama said: “This gives us a chance to pay down the deficit faster than we thought possible and to shift funds that would have gone to help the banks on Wall Street to help create jobs on Main Street.

OKAY, FINE… so how are we going to create the jobs on Main Street, damn it?  I’ve listened to an entire speech once again and I don’t have a clue what he thinks he said… as everyone claps.  Where are the jobs coming from?  From the painting of the bridges?

He closed his speech by saying that he’s backing the initiatives he outlined, because “they will generate the greatest number of jobs while generating the greatest value for our economy.”

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I think I need to go lie down.


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