Jobs plan possible if Washington can reach political compromise

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner during a meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 23, 2011.

Jeremy Hobson: We'll no doubt hear some ideas in tonight's GOP debate. And tomorrow, President Obama will lay out his plan to create jobs.

Let's bring in Richard Dekaser, economist with the Parthenon Group who is with us live from Boston. Good morning.

Richard Dekaser: Good morning.

Hobson: So Richard, does it look from what's known right now like Washington is going to come together on some new jobs bill sometime soon?

Dekaser: Yeah, that's the way it's looking. And I think we're basically heading for a replay of where we were last year. After months of tough talk about reigning in deficits and cutting spending, economic reality sinks in. Disappointing numbers motivate Congress and the administration to act, and I think we're going see another round of tax cuts or extending tax cuts that are otherwise set to expire. And maybe even some infrastructure spending increases.

Hobson: Well you mention the big tax cut package late last year. I mean, given where we are in our economy right now, does it really seem like that package worked?

Dekaser: I think it did. And more importantly, if you just ask the general question, "Have stimulus measures helped?" The evidence suggests so. Don't take my word for it, but the Congressional Budget Office, which has a terrific track record for impartiality and objectivity -- they've been focusing on the first stimulus legislation back in 2009. And they recently put out a report on what would've happened just in the last quarter. And according to them, there are 1 to 3 million more jobs than would otherwise have been the case, and the unemployment rate is 0.5 to 1.6 percentage points lower than it otherwise would have been. So, it could have been worse.

Hobson: A theme of this year, and it seems like the last couple of years -- could have been worse. Richard DeKaser, economist with the Parthenon Group, thanks as always.

Dekaser: My pleasure.

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