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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Obama’s new plan

Scott Jagow Dec 8, 2009

Well, it’s not really a new plan, it’s kind of an extension of existing stimulus plans, but the president’s trying to capitalize on the news that TARP will cost $200 billion less.

At a speech today, the Obama explained how he wants to create jobs and pay down the deficit with the newfound money. Here’s a rundown of the proposals from NPR:

The president’s latest initiatives would offer a one-year exemption for individuals on the capital-gains tax for new investments in small business stock. The administration would also extend expensing provisions for small businesses and the acceleration of the rate at which they can deduct the cost of capital expenditures.

It would provide additional funds for a wide range of infrastructure projects on highways, transit, rail, aviation and water.

Finally, the plan would include a so-called Cash for Caulkers incentive program that would provide rebates for consumers who make energy-efficient retrofits on their homes.

Republicans clearly aren’t too keen on any of it:

Speaking on Tuesday, (House Minority Leader John) Boehner called Obama’s plan “repulsive.” He said that when TARP was formed, there was an understanding that all the money authorized probably would not be spent.

“Any money that wasn’t spent was supposed to go toward the deficit,” he said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) called the initiative “further proof that TARP has morphed from an emergency injection of liquidity … into a $700 billion slush fund to promote Democrats’ political, social and economic agenda.”

On one hand, help for small business is overdue. More attention on creating jobs is overdue. On the other hand, it’s maddening that the government has fed the banks so much money, they’ve horded it to make profits and aren’t lending, and now that everything looks fine for them, Main Street gets leftovers from their haul.

But that’s not the only way to look at it. What do you think?

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