When President Obama addressed Congress Thursday night, he wanted to put forward a bold, yet agreeable proposal to help jumpstart the economy. Obama emphasized some of the same points multiple times. If this were a textbook, these are the points that a student should have highlighted.
Here are five things President Obama would want you to take away from his jobs bill, if you take away nothing else:
Congress should pass this bill right away.
That line came up multiple times during the speech. With the unemployment rate stuck at over nine percent, the American people are becoming very weary over the economy. Obama's plan would give all small businesses and all employees a tax break. Further tax breaks are available for companies who hire unemployed veterans and long-term unemployed workers.
The bill would also help finance construction projects and give money to school districts in need of renovation. Obama is betting on the fact that even in this toxic political environment, people can't vote against better roads for drivers and better education for youngsters.
The bill will be completely paid for.
With a Republican Congress that has become completely deficit-averse, a bill that would add to the deficit would be completely D.O.A. In order to fund the jobs bill, estimated at just under $450 billion, he has called on the super committee created to find cuts to government spending to cut even more.
Of course, this will upset his base, who have already decried cuts they feel are draconian. Obama emphasized that Social Security and Medicare need reform, but the liberal wing of his party has been worried about making cuts to those programs, especially with the Republicans' stance on taxes.
If you signed a pledge saying you won't raise taxes, you better mean it.
Here, Obama was calling out Republicans who have been hesitant to support extending the payroll tax cut for employees, while still supporting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans -- who Republicans call Job Creators. He points out that Republicans signed a pledge by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist to never raise taxes. Obama wants to see if the Republicans can live up to their word.
But then again, Republicans, go ahead and break that pledge to help the economy.
The President once again argued that the wealthy and largest corporations are not paying their fair share. He points to Warren Buffett, who pays a lower tax rate than his secretary and has called for the government to increase taxes on the wealthy. Obama points out that while wages have remained stagnant for most Americans, the top sliver has seen their pay skyrocket.
The Republicans opposed these tax hikes long before the speech, and it's not going to change after the speech. With Republicans controlling the House, don't expect changes on this front.
Some regulations are good.
Yes, Obama said some regulations are unnecessary, and has called for the government to review all regulations to find ones that are stunting economic growth. Republicans have gone much further -- they have called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank Law and have even lashed out at EPA for too many regulations.
But Obama retorted: But what we can't do -- what I will not do -- is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades.
Republicans will fight to the death to get these repeals. But unless the American people elect a new president in 2012, new reforms are here to stay.