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Passing American Jobs Act could take work

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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Even though Ohio State faculty and students have varying opinions when it comes to President Barack Obama’s plan to create new jobs, they can agree on one thing: it will be a fight for it to pass in Congress.

The president’s proposed plan, the American Jobs Act, is a $447 billion package the White House put together that would create a projected 1.9 million jobs.

Eric MacGilvray, an associate professor in the OSU Department of Political Sciences, said he did not think the plan would pass in its current state.

“Most economists seem to think that the stimulus proposed in the act is too small to have a huge impact, though it might help a little,” MacGilvray said. “And of course since Republicans control the House of Representatives it’s unlikely that the act will pass in anything like the form that the president has proposed.”

Currently the plan is to pay for the stimulus through cutting government programs, taxing the wealthy and giving incentives to businesses for hiring

more employees.

Geoff Carabin, a second-year in geography, said he is not optimistic about the act.

“I am very skeptical because our current generation and future generations will be paying for these jobs,” Carabin said. “I think we can easily create jobs in the private sector and the way Obama is proposing to create them with our tax money will prove unsuccessful for our future.”

Retired professor, John Champlin, said he doesn’t think the bill can revive the economy as Obama is promising.

“It’s a start, but as with the earlier stimulus package, Obama’s jobs bill is a good deal less than is needed,” Champlin said. “Without it, things will get noticeably worse, but with it, the economy will still not get back to where it needs to be.”

The current unemployment rate in the U.S. is 9.1 percent, according to the United States Department of Labor. Ten years ago, in July of 2001, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.

However, another former OSU political sciences professor, Brian Pollins, said he believes Obama is creating jobs exactly the right way.

“It is important to note that all of this spending is fully paid for by closing tax loopholes enjoyed only by the very richest Americans, and by limiting only some of the tax benefits currently given to oil companies,” Pollins said.

Pollins said that providing tax relief to the wealthy does not have a positive impact on the economy.

“Republicans complain loudly that such taxes penalize the job creators, but the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have been in place for over ten years, and we have seen only anemic job growth during the past decade,” he said. “The claim that wealthy individuals are job creators is a myth. Increasing taxes on these individuals will clearly not reduce job growth.”

Another professor in the political sciences department, Nathaniel Swigger, said he thinks there will be some kind of compromise in Congress.

“I sincerely doubt that the plan, as currently written, will ever become law,” he said. “Congressional Republicans have made it perfectly clear they have no interest in passing the president’s proposal and it’s difficult to get something passed in the House when the majority doesn’t want it.”

The president estimates the act would lower unemployment by a single percentage point by next year to slightly above 8 percent.

Just days after Obama put the plan together, he visited Columbus to promote his new proposal. MacGilvray said he thinks the visit was simply

“for show.”

“The fact that he’s touting the act in places like Columbus suggests that this is a key part of his re-election strategy,” he said. “It looks like the plan is to force Republicans in Congress to choose between voting against a popular jobs bill in tough economic times or compromising with the president in an election year. It will be interesting to see which choice they make in the coming months.”

Champlin said he is not optimistic in Congress passing any jobs legislation, despite Obama’s efforts in Columbus and other major cities, like Seattle.

“It’s pretty clear that the president is trying to rally the country to pressure Congress to get something done,” he said. “But I fear that Congress is broken so badly that there’s not much hope.”

Bear Braumoeller, a faculty member specializing in international relations, said he has weighed options for both sides of the act.

“I’m not sure which is the better argument,” he said. “I’m not sure anyone really knows. But doing nothing certainly won’t help; it’s just cheaper.”

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