With all of the discussion in the political world of the potential boon to the economy by extending the middle-class tax cuts and the bane should they expire, another critical piece of legislation proposed by President Barack Obama which would significantly help to build our struggling economy has been thus far largely ignored by Congress, the media punditry, the White House, and the American people: The American Jobs Act.
The bill in itself is not particularly revolutionary and is actually quite conservative. It contains the types of programs and tax cut-based initiatives meant to spur private business into hiring and to give every day consumers greater access to spending cash in order to help lift the GDP. Such legislation in the past has been passed fairly easily, seen by both parties as a common sense, free market approach to responding to recession and to catalyzing the pace of anemic recovery.
According to a short White House fact sheet released in the fall of 2011, the American Jobs Act has five key parts: “tax cuts to help America’s small businesses hire and grow, putting workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America, pathways back to work for Americans looking for jobs, tax relief for every American worker and family, and the bill is fully paid for as part of the President’s long-term deficit reduction plan.” In addition, the bill also helps American homeowners with mortgages and good credit have easier access to refining at today’s low mortgage rates which are at or near an all-time low.
First submitted to Congress in September of 2011, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has refused to even allow such a bill open for discussion. Senate Republicans likewise blocked the American Jobs Act from passage, filibustering the Oct. 2011 attempt to pass the bill. What their reasoning is boggles the mind, since significantly more liberal policies were enacted by their hero Ronald Reagan back in the early 1980s in order to pull the nation out of a recession which was nowhere near as deep as the financial collapse and the Great Recession of 2008/2009.
While politics are a reality in Washington, DC, issues which determine not only people’s economic lifestyles but their very lives are just too important for a party to play politics. Yet, the Republican Party has done exactly that for the past four years, and in their attempts to minimize the Obama Presidency without strong and continual public outcry they will likely do so for the next four years. Still, there is hope that the few moderate Republicans who hold some sense of patriotism and common cause will side with what is in the best interest of “We the People” over their party’s present far-right agenda.
Over the course of the next three weeks we as a nation need to focus on two pieces of legislation which are vital in building economic growth in 2013 and beyond: the middle-class tax cut extension and the American Jobs Act. While the middle-class tax cuts will keep the nation from falling back into recession, the American Jobs Act will accelerate job growth thus allowing the economy to fully heal over time.