Jobs: Time for another stimulus?

President Obama unveiled plans to stimulate the economy and jump-start hiring.

With the sagging economy eroding President Obama’s approval ratings, the administration is finally focusing on jobs, said Barbara Kiviat in But “let’s not get our hopes up.” A new report last week showed the national unemployment rate still hovering at around 10 percent, although the number of jobs lost in November—11,000—was far lower than expected, and substantially less than the 100,000-plus lost jobs in preceding months. Hoping to jump-start hiring, President Obama this week unveiled a plan that would give small businesses a tax deduction for hiring new employees. He also proposed eliminating small firms’ capital gains tax for one year, pouring more federal money into highway and bridge reconstruction, and a “cash for caulkers” program that would give rebates to homeowners who hire people to make their homes energy efficient. And where will all this money come from? Obama wants to tap the roughly $200 billion left over from last year’s TARP bailouts.

That figures, said National Review in an editorial. By throwing another $200 billion down the rathole of January’s $787 billion “stimulus” bill, Obama is once again trying to spend his way out of the recession. The economy may be starting to revive all by itself, and Obama’s hiring “incentive” may simply encourage businesses to fire employees and hire new ones to claim their tax credit. Try as they might, said William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal, Obama and his team of Ivy-educated liberal smarty-pants can’t—and shouldn’t try to—decide what “kind of jobs the economy ought to create.” To create jobs, the federal government should cut taxes, stop meddling with private businesses, and have some faith “in the collective wisdom of the marketplace.”

If the country had relied on that wisdom, said Robert Creamer in, we’d now be mired in a deep depression, instead of recovering from a mere recession. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that if it weren’t for last year’s stimulus package, another 1.6 million of our fellow citizens would be out of work right now. “So if the first stimulus worked to create or save jobs, why not do it again?” Actually, it may no longer be necessary, said Daniel Gross in The surprising November jobs report shows that the worst is over, and that the end of the great recession of 2008–09 is truly upon us. With or without another stimulus, “we’ll be seeing jobs growth sooner rather than later.”

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