That House Republicans will actually consider the Obama jobs bill, there are some good things for farmers I didn't realize.
Mr Obama proposed not only extending a 2% payroll-tax cut scheduled to expire in December, but increasing it to 3.1%—half the employee’s normal contribution to Social Security. He also called for an equivalent 3.1% cut in the employer’s payroll tax for the first $5m of payroll, and elimination of the entire 6.2% tax on the wages of new hires or on pay raises for current employees. At $240 billion, those provisions account for more than half the plan’s price tag. [More]I am assuming that self-employed would get the same breaks which would be worth a few thou to most of us who are maxed out on the SE tax. Even more valuable in the days of high farm income is the expensing continuation (although that merely postpones taxes, as many of us are being reminded).
But because it looks like it may actually help the economy, it could interfere with the GOP goal: defeat Obama. This is a tricky calculation, and if they are correct - keep the economy faltering to win the White House - I wonder that Washington will ever be able to act reasonably on economic matters in the future.
It's not like the right has ideas that economists think will help either - tax and spending cuts are not the answer to every economic ill. But it looks like we may find that out in the next few years.
As one senior House Republican aide told Politico, “Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?" That's a cynical question, obviously. But it's also the right question for understanding what is likely to happen next.
An ideal political process would work something like this: Congressional Republicans would take a look at the American Jobs Act and the forthcoming offsets. If they had specific concerns about some of the jobs proposals, they would propose alternatives. If they worried the offsets weren't sufficient, they would ask for more options. As the two parties agree on both the need to create jobs and reduce the deficit, this should be fertile ground for a compromise.
And maybe it will be. But that can only happen if the question is, "what's the best jobs package?" Unfortunately, as that senior House aide suggests, the question is likelier to be, "what's the best strategy for winning the White House in 2012?" And the answer to that question is to further the impression that Obama is a tax-and-borrow liberal who can't get things done in Washington and doesn't have a sound plan for the economy. Working with the president on a bipartisan jobs-and-deficit-reduction plan makes him look like, well, a good president. And good presidents often get reelected. [More]