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The Heritage Foundation: The Foundry responded to President Obama's job speech. The article is quite long, but it does make a lot of good points.
I've summarized each point made, but it's worth reading the entire article to get the full story.
Reaction Roundup: Heritage Responds to Obama’s Jobs Speech (Posted By Mike Brownfield)
Heritage’s experts watched President Barack Obama’s jobs speech delivered to a joint session of Congress. Here are some of their immediate reactions:
Jobs for Teachers?In his remarks tonight, President Obama argued that his jobs proposal would create more jobs for teachers. He went as far as to say laying off teachers…”has to stop”.
But since 1970, student enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools has increased just 7 percent, while public elementary and secondary staff hires have increased 83 percent. Moreover, in the 1950′s, there were approximately 2.36 teachers for every non-teacher in a school district. Today, in our nation’s school systems, that ratio is closer to 1 to 1. So every teacher in the classroom has an administrative counterpart in your local public school district. That is a tremendous strain on state budgets. But it is also a huge boon the education unions.
President Obama’s call to spend more precious taxpayer dollars to “prevent teacher layoffs” may do more to inflate schools’ non-teaching rosters than to retain teachers.
A Puzzling Plan to Allow Refinancing of MortgagesOne of the more puzzling parts of the President’s plan promises to allow more Americans to refinance their mortgages, but provides no details about how. The President promises that with refinancing, families could save about $2,000 a year, but like similar past promises few homeowners are likely to see those savings.
Briefing papers released by the White House say that the economic team will “work with” Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the regulator that runs them since both effectively failed three years ago, and “industry leaders” to make the 2009 Housing Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) more effective.
This means that the White House still has no idea how to do this. HARP, which was supposed to help between 4 and 5 million homeowners who owe more than their property is worth, and several other attempts to help under water homeowners have all been resounding failures.
Obama’s False Choice – and Missed Opportunity – on RegulationsThe President tonight missed an opportunity to constructively address one of the major problems facing the economy: regulation.
After acknowledging that “there are some rules and regulations that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, and claiming credit for the small steps taken so far toward reform, he then slipped into a rhetorical — and rather cartoonish — description of the issue.
“What we can’t do,” he said, “is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety.”
But no one is suggesting that any basic protections be erased — instead the pressing need now is to stop the tidal wave of regulation — costing almost $40 billion dollars — that has swamped Americans and the economy since the president was elected.
The Futility of Infrastructure BanksBuilding and repairing roads and bridges neither creates net job growth nor boosts the economy in the near term.
First, increasing government spending on these projects simply moves resources from one place to another — it may employ construction workers, but only by reducing jobs in other sectors. Further, the money never gets out the door soon enough to promote near-term job growth: “shovel-ready” projects are not nearly so shovel ready as they may seem, as the President himself recently acknowledged.
The Absurdity of Obama’s Spending OffsetsIt is absurd that this President — who ignored the recommendations of his own fiscal commission, and then sought to raise the debt ceiling without a nickel of spending reductions — now demands the super-committee created in the debt-ceiling negotiations to come up with additional savings to pay for his jobs proposal.?? ?
And When, the Rest of the Story, Mr. President?In his jobs speech, the President laid out a bunch of retread policy ideas that two years after they were first tried managed to create an arithmetic novelty – exactly zero job growth in August. In total, the President is calling for more new spending on proven policies that are proven failures, and he says these will all be paid for with budget reductions elsewhere.
But he refused to give his proposals for offsetting the cost of his proposals. Desserts only, no spinach?. We’re still waiting for “the rest of the story”. Was he unable to decide in time on what to propose? Did he think perhaps no one would notice? Why put out what is literally a half-baked plan?
President Calls for Ill-advised Federal School ConstructionThe president’s proposal to funnel more taxpayer dollars into school construction has both constitutional and pragmatic problems. School construction has historically been – and should remain – the job of states and localities. Federal forays into school construction have been rare and indirect. Federally-funded school construction is also a terribly expensive way to build schools: Washington-funded jobs must pay prevailing wages, increasing costs on average by 22 percent.
Not A ‘Jobs Plan’ — Just Stimulus ReduxWhat President Obama calls a “jobs” plan is really just stimulus redux: a typical Keynesian-style set of infrastructure, school construction, teacher pay, unemployment benefits, and temporary tax breaks that have demonstrably failed in the two-and-a-half years since the $825-billion Recovery Act.
Obama Calls for Tax Hikes on Job Creators – In Jobs SpeechThe President has said himself that tax hikes slow economic growth and deter job creation. That was the justification he gave in December for extending the Bush tax cuts through 2012. It seems he has forgotten what he himself said less than a year ago.
The President called for raising taxes on investors, businesses, and entrepreneurs in his speech. These are the job creators he so desperately needs to help revive the economy. Raising their taxes will reduce the already limited incentives they have to invest and add new workers right now.
Unsurprisingly, Obama Ignores Energy Exploration as a SolutionIncreasing energy supply should have been a no-brainer for President Obama. It’s a policy that can lower energy prices, create jobs and generate hundreds of billions in revenue from more royalties, leases, and rent. And it’s a massive revenue raiser that occurs without raising taxes. Instead, the president used the opportunity to take a jab at oil companies and the “tax loopholes” they receive.
To be clear, what the President and anti-oil crusaders label a tax loophole is not tax treatment specific to the oil and gas industry. These are broad tax policies that apply to many industries.
Obama Calls for Reviving Failed Hiring Tax CreditWhat to make of President Obama’s plan in his speech tonight to revive a tax credit for businesses hiring new workers? In March 2010, the President signed into law an almost identical credit.
It was a credit he pushed for Congress to pass. The credit lasted from March through the end of December. It had no beneficial impact on job creation and added billions to the national debt. There is absolutely no good reason for trying it again.
Extending Unemployment BenefitsOne of the most thoroughly established findings of labor economics is the fact that extended unemployment benefits cause workers to remain unemployed longer. Even Alan Krueger, President Obama’s nominee to chair the Council of Economic Advisors, agrees. Studies show that raising benefits to 99 weeks during the recession has increased the unemployment rate by 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points. Extended benefits come at an economic cost.