In July, House Republicans took up the mantra “where are the jobs?” to criticize the Obama administration’s stimulus package, using the phrase over and over on the House floor. With reports emerging that the administration is looking at additional stimulus measures — in the wake of an unexpected uptick in job loss last month — Fox News’ Bill Hemmer adopted the GOP’s catchphrase, invoking it repeatedly today as he searched for “the real solution to the jobs problem in America.” (Not surprisingly, Hemmer’s guests said the solution is permanent corporate tax cuts.) Watch it:
Hemmer might first want to take a look at this analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, which found that the stimulus package “is likely saving or creating between 200,000 and 250,000 jobs a month; without the [stimulus], losses in September would likely have been nearly double what they actually were.”
That said, most analysts are now predicting that unemployment will stay stubbornly high into 2010, and though it makes for very tricky politics, something more will likely have to be done to support the job market. The administration has proposed — and Congress is mulling over — a tax credit for hiring workers or adding “significant hours” (such as making a part-time worker full-time).
However, as Mark Thoma wrote, “I think a policy like this needs to be combined with demand-side policies that create the need for more workers; the tax credit alone won’t be enough.” Indeed, the tax credit is a relatively inefficient way to spur job creation, and it’s hard to tell if it will incentivize many firms that weren’t planning to hire anyway. That’s part of the reason it was scrapped during the original stimulus debate. It’s not a terrible idea, but it’s not a silver bullet either.
The bottom line is that the stimulus is having its expected effect in a economy that is in very bad shape. But is there any hope that Republicans (along with Fox News), who purport to be so concerned about job creation, can get behind additional steps to get the jobs market moving in the right direction?