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Obama Press Conference Video for July 11, 2011 - Tidbit of information unemployment benefits

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Obama Press Conference Video for July 11, 2011 - Tidbit of information unemployment benefits

Post by gigichicago on Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:47 pm

Information about unemployment benefits.
Sam Stein.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. With unemployment now at 9.2 percent and a large chunk of those lost jobs coming from the private sector, is now a really good time to cut trillions of dollars in spending? How will we still create jobs? And then to piggyback on the Social Security question — what do you say to members of your own party who say it doesn’t contribute to the deficit, let’s consider it but not in the context of this deal?

THE PRESIDENT: Our biggest priority as an administration is getting the economy back on track and putting people back to work. Now, without relitigating the past, I’m absolutely convinced, and the vast majority of economists are convinced, that the steps we took in the Recovery Act saved millions of people their jobs or created a whole bunch of jobs.

And part of the evidence of that is as you see what happens with the Recovery Act phasing out. When I came into office and budgets were hemorrhaging at the state level, part of the Recovery Act was giving states help so they wouldn’t have to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters. As we’ve seen that federal support for states diminish, you’ve seen the biggest job losses in the public sector — teachers, police officers, firefighters losing their jobs.

So my strong preference would be for us to figure out ways that we can continue to provide help across the board. But I’m operating within some political constraints here, because whatever I do has to go through the House of Representatives.

What that means then is, is that among the options that are available to us is, for example, the payroll tax cut, which might not be exactly the kind of program that I would design in order to boost employment but does make a difference because it puts money in the pockets of people who are then spending it at businesses, large and small. That gives them more customers, increases demand, and it gives businesses a greater incentive to hire. And that would be, for example, a component of this overall package.

Unemployment benefits, again, puts money in the pockets of folks who are out there knocking on doors trying to find a job every day. Giving them those resources, that puts more money into the economy and that potentially improves it — improves the climate for businesses to want to hire.

So as part of a component of a deal, I think it’s very important for us to look at what are the steps we can take short term in order to put folks back to work. I am not somebody who believes that just because we solve the deficit and debt problems short term, medium term, or long term, that that automatically solves the unemployment problem. I think we’re still going to have to do a bunch of stuff — including, for example, trade deals that are before Congress right now that could add tens of thousands of jobs.

Republicans gave me this list the beginning of this year as a priority, something that they thought they could do. Now I’m ready to do it, and so far we haven’t gotten the kind of movement that I would have expected.

We’ve got the potential to create an infrastructure bank that could put construction workers to work right now, rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our vital infrastructure all across the country. So those are still areas where I think we can make enormous progress.

I do think that if the country as a whole sees Washington act responsibly, compromises being made, the deficit and debt being dealt with for 10, 15, 20 years, that that will help with businesses feeling more confident about aggressively investing in this country, foreign investors saying America has got its act together and are willing to invest. And so it can have a positive impact in overall growth and employment.

It’s not the only solution. We’re still going to have to have a strong jobs agenda. But it is part of a solution. I might add it is the primary solution that the Republicans have offered when it comes to jobs. They keep on going out there and saying, “Mr. President, what are you doing about jobs?” And when you ask them, well, what would you do? “We’ve got to get government spending under control and we’ve got to get our deficits under control.” So I say, okay, let’s go. Where are they? I mean, this is what they claim would be the single biggest boost to business certainty and confidence. So what’s the holdup?

With respect to Social Security, as I indicated earlier, making changes to these programs is so difficult that this may be an opportunity for us to go ahead and do something smart that strengthens Social Security and gives not just this generation but future generations the opportunity to say this thing is going to be in there for the long haul.

Now, that may not be possible and you’re absolutely right that, as I said, Social Security is not the primary driver of our long-term deficits and debt. On the other hand, we do want to make sure that Social Security is going to be there for the next generations, and if there is a reasonable deal to be had on it, it is one that I’m willing to pursue.

http://www.shallownation.com/2011/07/11/obama-press-conference-video-july-11-2011-presidential-news-conference-on-the-debt-ceiling/
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