AP Photo/Charles DharapakIt looks like the Obama administration's new ideas for job growth will in part target those who have been out of work for an extended period.
As we reported Wednesday, President Obama will lay out new ideas to boost the economy in a major speech soon after Labor Day. He's mulling tax cuts for companies that hire workers, infrastructure spending on roads and construction, and other measures aimed at the long-term unemployed, administration officials told the Washington Post.
Congressional approval would be needed for those plans, and that's far from assured. But some of the other measures said to be under consideration, like mortgage relief for struggling homeowners, could be done through executive orders.
Nearly 14 million Americans are officially unemployed, though the figure would be much higher--around 25 million--if it included those who have given up looking for work. Around 45 percent of the official jobless have been out of work for six months or more, the technical definition of long-term unemployment. A Lookout project, conducted this summer, to compile personal stories from the long-term unemployed, generated an enormous outpouring of responses.
Obama will also propose a deficit reduction package worth more than $1.5 trillion--the amount the "super commission" created by Congress has been directed to cut.
"When Congress gets back in September, my basic argument to them is this: We should not have to choose between getting our fiscal house in order and jobs and growth," Obama told a crowd in Illinois Wednesday.
The new details emerge as a Gallup Poll finds that just 26 percent of respondents approve of Obama's handling of the economy.
Also Wednesday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cal.) slammed Obama for not visiting any African-American areas during this week's bus trip. Black unemployment is at 16 percent, far higher than the already-high 9.1 percent national rate.
"Our people are hurting," said Waters. "The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is."