Steve Chiotakis: President Obama today heads to Richmond, Va. to pitch his presidential jobs initiative he laid out last night.
The plan mixes tax credits, unemployment benefits and infrastructure spending -- at a time when more than 9 percent of the workforce is without a job.
Barack Obama: Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic super power. And now we're gonna sit back, and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?
Let's get a little analysis now. Mark Zandi is chief economist with Moody's Analytics and he's on the phone with us from London. Hi Mark.
Mark Zandi: Hi Steve.
Chiotakis: If the president's proposal -- we're talking, what, $450 billion -- were implement, how's it gonna change the economy and the unemployment rate?
Zandi: I think it would be a plus. If it were fully implemented, I think it would create almost 2 million jobs in 2012 and bring down the unemployment rate by a percentage point. Of course, the likelihood of getting it passed in its entirety is nil, but even if the small pieces of it get through, I think that would be helpful.
Chiotakis: There are some new proposals in this, Mark, but a lot of this looks the same as we've seen before. I mean, what makes you think this is going to be any more effective?
Zandi: You're right -- a fair amount of it is in previous stimulus packages. But I think it will provide some juice, put some cash into people's pockets. And one thing that is new is that businesses, particularly small businesses, will benefit from lower payroll taxes, so that'll give them some much needed cash. So I think there's enough impetus here to be helpful.
Chiotakis: Mark Zandi with Moody's Analytics in London. Mark, thanks.
Zandi: Thank you.