Gene Sperling, the director of President Barack Obama's National
Economic Council, said Sunday that Obama is offering congressional
Republicans "a grand bargain on jobs. He has said he would be willing
to do corporate tax reform that lowers rates to 28 percent, simplifies
taxes for small businesses, but do it together with a major
In his budget proposal last year,
Obama called for $50 billion in additional short-term federal spending
on infrastructure projects such as bridges, highways, and mass transit
systems, as well as creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to make
loans to such projects.
"The economy is improving" and "we've had
a lot of momentum," Sperling said on NBC's Meet the Press, but there
are still "people who are desperately looking for work." He said, "We
have to admit – and we do admit -- that the worst legacy of this great
recession is the crisis of long-term unemployment."
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of long-term unemployed,
those who are jobless for 27 weeks or more, stood at 4.1 million in
November. They accounted for nearly 40 percent of all the unemployed.
argued that there's still a need for the emergency unemployment
benefits program which President George W. Bush signed into law in the
summer of 2008.
The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a
proposed three-month extension of the Bush Era emergency unemployment
benefits program. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program
covers jobless people who have exhausted their benefits under their
state's regular unemployment benefits program.
Republican calls for spending cuts to offset the cost of extending the
benefits program. "All five times that President Bush extended
unemployment benefits there were no ‘pay-fors,'" he told NBC's David
He said a three-month extension of the emergency
program would open the way for extending it for the remainder of 2014.
"If you don't extend it for the rest of the year, it's going to affect
really 14 million Americans," Sperling said.
Sperling, Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money, said Congress must
extend the unemployment benefits program, but added, "My problem is: How
does it create highly trained workers? How does it create jobs that
are highly skilled, that pay a lot?"
For the long-term
unemployed, Cramer said, "the question is: how do we get these people to
where the jobs are? Why are we not being more focused on not just
upward mobility, but on mobility to where the booms are in this country
– and there are booms."
Cramer said an increase in the federal
minimum wage, which Obama supports, and an extension of emergency
unemployment benefits "do not do anything" to get unemployed people to
relocate to states which have labor shortages.
"What's being done
to get people to Louisiana, to Texas, to Ohio, to North Dakota, to
Pennsylvania, to New Mexico, to Montana? These are states that need
workers but no one is helping them (the unemployed) get there."
also noted that "the dogma is now, post-Clinton, pro-immigration, at a
time when we have a much larger supply of labor than we need." He
asked, "Why don't we care more about our people?"
ABC's This Week, Sen. Rand Paul, R - Ky., said Sunday, "What is really
cruel is to have an economy that doesn't have jobs in it, so we have to
talk about what policy creates jobs. With regard to unemployment
insurance, I have always said that I'm not opposed to unemployment
insurance; I am opposed to having it without paying for it. I think it's
wrong to borrow money from China or simply to print up money for it,
but I'm not against having unemployment insurance."
But he argued
that long-term unemployment benefits create a disincentive to work. "We
have to figure out how to create jobs and keep people from becoming
long-term unemployed. That's why I've promoted the economy freedom
zones, which would dramatically lower taxes in areas where there is
Sunday, August 20 2017 3:11 PM EDT2017-08-20 19:11:20 GMT
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