On September 8, 2011 — one year ago tomorrow — President Obama laid out a series of policy proposals known collectively as the American Jobs Act. The plan included stimulus spending in the form of immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers to encourage consumer spending and job growth, and efforts to shore up state and local budgets to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials.
The American Jobs Act never became law, however, because Republicans opposed it from the start, blasting it as another form of “failed stimulus” that wouldn’t help the economy. (They ignored the fact that the first “failed stimulus,” the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, wasn’t a failure at all.) One month later, the GOP blocked the bill in the Senate, preventing the creation of more than a million jobs and the added growth that multiple economists predicted would occur if the bill passed:
— Moody’s Analytics estimated the American Jobs Act would create 1.9 million jobs and add two percent to gross domestic product.
— The Economic Policy Institute estimated it would create 2.6 million jobs and protect an addition 1.6 million existing jobs.
— Macroeconomic Advisers predicted it would create 2.1 million jobs and boost GDP by 1.5 percent.
— Goldman Sachs estimated it would add 1.5 percent to GDP.
The American economy has continued to recover since the American Jobs Act failed. It added 96,000 jobs last month, according to today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report, making August the 30th consecutive month in which the private sector has grown. But growth could have been faster: the public sector shed 7,000 jobs in August, adding to the more 700,000 it has lost since 2009. That includes hundreds of thousands of teachers and educators, firefighters, and police officers. Had the public sector spent the last three years growing at its previous rate, unemployment would be at least a full point lower than it is now.
The American Jobs Act and policies like it would have unquestionably boosted job creation and economic growth, a stark contrast to the tax-cutting policies put forth by congressional Republicans, whose “job creation” bills would have actually destroyed thousands of jobs. Republicans nevertheless continue to ignore economists and basic economics, instead pushing supply-side tax policies that have repeatedly failed to boost job creation and economic growth.