President Barack Obama unveiled Tuesday morning a package of new enhancements to his administration’s efforts to revive the U.S. economy and spur job growth.
The proposal, outlined in a speech at the Brookings Institute in Washington, seeks to put the dent in the unemployment figures, which now stand at more than 10%. It variously pledges tax cuts and other credits to businesses that increase hiring, rebates to homeowners who retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient, and additional monies to states and local governments for infrastructure projects to improve highways, bridges, airports, and other public projects. Officials said the plan is part of an effort to “move away from helping banks on Wall Street and toward helping people on Main Street.”
What may be surprising about the president’s new plan is its funding source. In the past few weeks, White House economists have realized that the $700 billion TARP program is going to be $200 billion less expensive than originally anticipated. The president now plans to direct that “savings” to his new job creation effort. A portion of those funds would also go toward reducing the deficit, officials said.
Overall, White House officials said prior to today’s speech that the president is satisfied with the administration’s efforts thus far to resuscitate the economy. They say the Recovery Act has created 1.6 million jobs, a number some private economists have called into question.