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Obama: jobs plan could create 1.9 million jobs

16 september 2011, 13:18
US President Barack Obama said Thursday his jobs plan could boost growth by two percent and shave one percent off the unemployment rate, in his most specific push yet for the bill's passage, AFP reports.

The $447 billion dollar plan is crucial for Obama's hopes of reviving his political fortunes and regaining the trust of US voters on the economy as he sets off on his 2012 reelection bid.

The White House been wary of making predictions for the American Jobs Act in the knowledge that its forecasts for Obama's 2009 stimulus plan turned out to be too rosy, handing his foes a potent political weapon.

But Obama gave more details at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Washington, as he steps up his campaign to force Congress to pass the bill, which is weighted towards payroll tax cuts.

"It's estimated that the American Jobs Act would add two percentage points to the GDP, and add as many as 1.9 million jobs, and bring the unemployment rate down by a full percentage point," Obama said.

In less detailed language, the president argued the jobs bill could help the economy grow by up to two percent in an interview with NBC at the weekend, but Thursday's comment was his first use of detailed estimates for the plan.

Obama's remarks matched the estimates for the plan produced by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. Some other estimates by experts have suggested the bill will have a smaller impact.

Currently, an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, growing fears of a new recession and a stagnant recovery are casting doubts over the president's reelection hopes next year.

The White House has been haunted for two years by predictions that Obama's 800 billion dollar stimulus plan, passed soon after he came to office, would hold unemployment below eight percent.

Obama also stepped up his campaign against the unpopular Congress, especially Republicans who have already rejected the series of tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations with which he wants to pay for his bill.

"This Congress, they are accustomed to doing nothing, and they're comfortable with doing nothing, and they keep on doing nothing.

"But I will tell you, we intend to keep the pressure on," Obama said, noting that he had traveled to swing states Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia in recent days on a hard sell for the jobs plan he unveiled last week.

"We are going to run this like a campaign, in the sense that we've got to take it to the American people, and make the case as to why it is possible for Washington to make a difference right now."

Next week, Obama will travel to Cincinnati to visit a bridge badly in need of repairs to highlight the infrastructure spending portion of his economic plan, designed to put construction workers back on the job.

The bridge spans the Ohio River between the state of Ohio, home to Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Kentucky, the state of the top Republican in the Senate Mitch McConnell.

Earlier, Boehner criticized Obama's plan, saying its tax credits were not enough to create private sector employment.

"Let's be honest with ourselves," the Republican representative said in a speech at the Economic Club of Washington.

"The president's proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America... the policies that are needed to put America back to work.

"If we want job growth, we need to recognize who really creates jobs in America. It's the private-sector," he added.

Boehner repeated an earlier concession that some of Obama's ideas "offer opportunities for common ground" between Democrats and Republicans to revive the US economy as it struggles to recover from the global meltdown of 2008.

But he echoed other leading Republicans who derided Obama's proposals on Wednesday and was otherwise scathing of the jobs bill.

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