This morning brought some useful indicators about the outlook for President Obama’s jobs bill. Good news first: Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, says President Obama’s job creation plan will likely add 1.9 million jobs, cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point, and grow the economy by 2 percent.
The plan includes $50 billion for infrastructure, with an emphasis on transportation and schools, and the creation of an infrastructure bank capitalized at $10 billion.
House Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s ideas “merit consideration” but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was less magnanimous. “If government spending were the answer, we`d be in the middle of a boom right now,” McConnell told reporters. “We`ve been on a spending spree over the last two years.”
Republican candidates for president didn’t hesitate to slam Obama’s plan. Rep. Michele Bachmann said everything in the speech had “already been tried and failed before.” Gov. Rick Perry said the true path to jobs was “smaller government, less spending.” And Gov. Jon Huntsman, once an Obama appointee himself, called the speech a “list of regurgitated half-measures [that] demonstrates that President Obama fundamentally doesn’t understand how to turn our economy around.”
Which brings us to the bad news. Despite Moody’s upbeat analysis of the president’s proposal, stocks tumbled this morning. According to Bloomberg, the gloom wasn’t about the merits of the plan but the likelihood of Congressional passage. “Even as President Obama made an effort to put that plan together,” said James Dunigan, chief investment officer in Philadelphia for PNC Wealth Management, “there’s not a whole lot of confidence that Congress will pass [it].”
I guess it’s not enough for an independent financial institution like Moody’s saying it’s a good plan. As long as a Democratic president proposes it, it’s dead in the water to Congressional Republicans.