As President Obama embarks on his “Main Street Tour” to promote job stimulus, some clues are coming out of Washington the details of plans to cut unemployment.
Here’s what’s on the table:
- Tax credits for hiring. One plan includes giving business a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for increasing payrolls by bringing on new hires. So, if you hired a new employee for a salary of $40,000 a year, your company would get a credit for that amount.
- Expanded credit for inner-city business. Whatever aid business gets, the boost probably will be bigger for companies locate in inner cities, where unemployment typically is higher than in suburban areas. In fact, a lot of Democrats who represent inner-city districts say they won’t vote to approve any package that doesn’t address acute unemployment in their districts.
- Public-works projects. Not exactly a fresh idea, but Congress is looking at projects that improve roads and infrastructure, as a way to lift the construction business and provide some aid to state and local governments.
Where’s the money coming from?
These days, even the most liberal members of Congress are skittish about increasing the federal deficit, so there’s little support for appropriating more funds. And an idea to tax financial transactions, such as stock sales, quickly got shot down.
What’s more likely: The majority of TARP money is still sitting unspent in the pipeline. We’re probably talking about some $400 billion, depending one whose figures you believe.