President Barack Obama, said his policies “have stopped the bleeding” and put the middle class on the road to recovery, while previewing the US economy on Saturday.
Faced with the task of bringing down the 9.6 per cent unemployment rate in the US, Obama is slated to spend the next week talking up proposals on improving the economy.
He hopes to gain some traction with impatient voters as they ponder whether to toss out his Democrats in the November 2 congressional elections.
In his weekly radio and Web address, Obama pointed to measures funded by the Democrats’ $814 billion economic stimulus as responsible for halting the economic slide he faced when taking office in January 2009.
This includes spending on roads and bridges and money given to local governments to avert layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police officers.
“The steps we have taken to date have stopped the bleeding,” Obama said. “But strengthening our economy means more than that.”
Other steps, he said, were aimed at helping the middle class, citing a portion of his U.S. healthcare overhaul that stopped insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing health conditions.
Obama is trying to convince Americans that Democratic policies offer the best economic future for them as he seeks to turn back a strong challenge from Republicans for control of the U.S. House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.
A number of options are likely, such as extending middle class tax cuts, investing in clean energy, spending more on infrastructure, and delivering more tax cuts to businesses to encourage hiring.
RESEARCH TAX CREDIT
The New York Times reported late Saturday that Obama will ask Congress to increase and permanently extend a tax credit for business research expenses and pay for the program, which would cost up to $100 billion over 10 years, by closing other corporate tax breaks.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that the Obama administration was moving toward using revenue that would be generated after the expiration of existing tax cuts for upper-income people to finance about $35 billion of tax cuts targeted at small businesses and lower-income workers.
A White House spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, declined to comment on the Journal report.
The White House is careful to say these proposals do not add up to a second stimulus package, given voters’ anxiety about the country’s record budget deficit.
“This administration claimed its economic policies would keep unemployment under 8 percent, cut the deficit and turn our economy around. Instead, the unemployment rate is nearing 10 percent, the debt is exploding and we’ve lost hundreds of thousands of jobs over the summer months,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.