Campus / National / News / October 12, 2011

Knox reacts to Obama jobs bill

President Barack Obama recently proposed a new plan to create jobs in the United States. The $447 billion plan would be funded by a surtax on millionaires, with the purpose of putting more people back to work and putting more money in the pockets of working Americans without adding on to the deficit.

The plan focuses on employing construction workers, schoolteachers and people who have been unemployed for long amounts of time.

Sophomore Melvin Taylor favors Obama’s job plan due to his interest in the education field. This bill would put teachers back in classrooms and prevent layoffs of 280,000 teachers.

“From a low income family person perspective I have to agree with what the bill has to offer and also because I am an education major. The [point] I agree most with is taxing people that make more money,” Taylor said.

However, it is this taxing of people with higher incomes that creates hostility between Republicans and Democrats. Professor of Political Science Andy Civettini also commented on this issue.

“The main sticking point is the tax recharge on income over a million dollars,” said Civettini.

In addition, Civettini pointed out that Tuesday’s voting on the bill would provide an indication on the way Republicans will try to oppose this bill. The vote for proceeding the bill was 50 to 49.

“The Senate’s vote to block the measure represented a significant setback and came after leaders of his own party had adjusted the measure to include a surtax on incomes of more than $1 million to round up additional Democratic votes,” stated Robert Pear for The New York Times.

President Obama had addressed this subject with Congress on Sept. 8th, reminding them of how 1,470 millionaires and billionaires paid zero taxes in 2009.

It is this point raised by Obama that allowed Taylor to believe the tax raise to such individuals would not be a bad idea.

“The fact that they didn’t have to pay taxes at all and the fact that people are still struggling to eat day to day and survive day to day and still have to pay taxes is basically unacceptable, and with this plan, hopefully everything can get turned around,” Taylor said.

In addition, Taylor believes that this plan would not affect millionaires too much, and they most likely would be able to gain their wealth back soon.

Some of the changes brought by this plan include a tax break for hiring people, a tax relief for every American worker and family and cutting employer’s payroll taxes in half. This is due to Obama believing it is not the time for raising taxes for the middle class.

“The second most costly piece is extending unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance was increased a few years ago. They’ve extended five times already; this would be the sixth, the maximum number of times,” Civettini said.

While the bill would encourage firms to hire the long term unemployed (at least six months) by giving a $4,000 bonus tax credit, this point may also come as a disadvantage for employers and applicants.

“If you’ve got a choice of five people who are out of a job, you would pick someone with the skills you need, but using this, it would be an incentive to pick someone that has been unemployed for a certain period of time,” Civettini said.

The president stated this is not the end of the fight, and it is acknowledged that it may be necessary to split the bill into separate pieces in order for at least some parts to pass.

“In the coming days, members of Congress will have to take a stand on whether they believe we should put teachers, construction workers, police officers and firefighters back on the job,” Obama said.

Carmen Vargas

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