President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation Thursday night to unveil the "American Jobs Act."
The plan includes tax relief for small businesses and tax cuts for the middle class that the president said will lead to new jobs for "construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed." He said these jobs would be created right away if Congress passes his bill.
Obama didn't say how much all of this would cost, but the Associated Press has put the figure at $450 billion. The president did say this would not be added to the deficit -- it would be paid for, and he outlined how that would happen.
"The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan – a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run," he said.
The plan also includes eliminating tax loopholes for the rich.
"Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both. This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future."
Obama said he knows people are skeptical that a jobs program can be passed just a year before the presidential election. But he said it must be done, and it must be done now.
"But know this: the next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them – they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14months. Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now."