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President Obama’s jobs plan takes another hit

Steve Chiotakis Oct 21, 2011

President Obama’s jobs plan takes another hit

Steve Chiotakis Oct 21, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama wasn’t able to get his near half trillion dollar jobs package past a filibuster last week, so Senate Democrats tried to push individual planks of it through — at least one to similar partisan failure.

A bill to send $35 billion to the states so they can avoid laying off more teachers, firefighters and emergency responders also went down to defeat, with Democrats unable to break another GOP filibuster.

Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman is with us live to talk about all of the drama in Washington. Good morning Mitchell.

Mitchell Hartman: Hi Steve.

Chiotakis: So where does the president’s American Jobs Act stand right now?

Hartman: Well, you know as you said, Democrats are now trying to pass it piecemeal, starting with money to help out state and local budgets. It’s a popular measure with voters, and also public-sector union voters.

Now, you may remember, this kind of help for the states was a main element of President Obama’s first stimulus. And the Administration counts the jobs that it saved as a major accomplishment — they say unemployment would be even worse now.

Republicans — as you might expect — have an equal and opposite take. Here’s GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor before yesterday’s vote.

Mitch McConnell: This is third time in three years the president has asked us to bail out the states. How many more times, and how many more billions, before someone realizes this is a very bad idea?

More bad ideas will probably come along, according to the Republicans. Democrats are now going to try to pass other parts of the President’s plan; that includes infrastructure spending, a payroll tax holiday, and extended unemployment benefits.

Chiotakis: But where does this, Mitchell, leave us trying to create more jobs?

Hartman: Kind of where we’ve been. Right now, basically, it’s up to the private sector. Which, of course, is exactly how Republicans say it should be. But you know, here’s the dilemma: government jobs are still hemorrhaging, and that’s hurting the recovery.

So look at these numbers I crunched this morning: Since March 2010, we’ve added nearly 2.5 million jobs in the private sector. But in that same period, we’ve lost more than half a million in the public sector. And most of them are at the local level — teachers and public safety workers — and they get paid pretty well.

Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman with us this morning. Mitchell, thanks.

Hartman: You’re welcome.

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