President Barack Obama unveiled a new plan Thursday that embodies the elements of compromise Americans have been expecting for months. Obama urged Congress to âÄúswiftlyâÄù pass a plan based heavily on payroll tax cuts and tax incentives for employers who hire previously unemployed workers. Additionally, the plan would extend unemployment benefits for one more year.
Unemployment is still hovering at an unacceptable 9.1 percent. When you add in the 8.8 million people working fewer hours than they want and the almost 1 million who have given up looking for a job completely, the true unemployment rate is more like 15 percent. Now is undoubtedly the time for a divided Congress to pass this plan.
Extending unemployment benefits and putting money directly back into the pockets of families through tax cuts are important for stoking demand in the current economy. Enticing employers to hire and helping those looking for work is not only what the country has been asking for, but what it so badly needs.
Obama proves with his new plan that he âÄî if no one else âÄî is listening to the people and that government isnâÄôt completely deaf to those it aims to serve. Congress must follow suit.
Obama himself noted that itâÄôs âÄútime to stop the political circus,âÄù and that the American people âÄúdonâÄôt have the luxury of waiting 14 months [until the next election] for results.âÄù
The plan is long overdue and much-needed. For the sake of the country âÄî especially the millions that remain without a paycheck âÄî both parties must silence their ringmasters and pass this bill. Americans have waited long enough. The time to act is now.