President Obama will lay out his latest jobs plan before a joint session of Congress on Thursday, in the wake of a report that showed zero net jobs were created last month. Unemployment has remained above 9 percent, while unemployment amongst African Americans is at a 27-year high.
Obama said yesterday that he aims to “present a far-reaching jobs plan aimed at winning bipartisan support.” However, up to this point, Republicans have been utterly uninterested in supporting job creation policies, preferring to slash and burn the federal budget and force the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers.
But while the GOP may be firmly against progressive job creation measures, the public is assuredly not. According to two polls released today, the public supports government-backed measures to bring down the unemployment rate.
First, 51 percent of respondents in a Politico-George Washington University poll said that they favor “a large scale federally subsidized nationwide construction program putting Americans back to work building roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.” Just 21 percent of respondents oppose such an idea.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of respondents in a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll approve of the federal government “paying for long-term unemployed workers to train at private companies for eight weeks, and then giving the companies an option to hire them.” A plurality of respondents approve of funding a road construction bill, extending unemployment benefits, and extending the payroll tax cut that was included in last December’s tax deal.
And it’s not only on the job creation front that the progressive agenda garners widespread support. As NBC’s First Read noted today:
With the first Super Committee hearing this Thursday, the NBC/WSJ poll also shows what course the public wants it to take. The good news for Obama/Democrats — it’s on their turf. Per the poll, 60% say it would be acceptable if the Super Committee comes up with a plan to reduce the deficit by ending the so-called Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or more per year. Moreover, 56% say it would be acceptable if its plan reduces the deficit by a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. By comparison, just 37% believe it’s acceptable for the Super Committee to reduce the deficit by only cutting spending and not raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. And only 20% say it’s acceptable to lower the deficit by reducing spending on Medicare.
As Steve Benen put it, “for all the talk about the center-right nation, and for all of the president’s troubles in the polls, most of the public is still on board with what Democrats are proposing, and have no use for what the GOP is selling.”