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Obama Announces New Plan to Support Economy, Job Creation

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US President Barack Obama announced a set of initiatives on Wednesday in a bid to speed up the economic recovery and help business spur hiring.

Obama outlined an array of program including permanent extension of research and development tax credits for businesses and infrastructure investments, when giving a speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

Obama on Monday announced a billion-dollar plan to renew and expand the nation's roads, railways and runways in an effort to jump-start the sluggish economy and to help create job with November's elections for control of Congress approaching and pressure from recession-weary voters mounting.

"Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year. I believe we ought to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent," Obama said, adding that the middle-class families are more likely to spend on basic necessities, that would strengthen the economy as a whole.

"We are ready, this week, to give tax cuts to every American making US$250,000 or less. For any whose annual income is over this amount, the tax rates would go back to what they were under President Clinton," he added.

He admitted that reducing the deficit won't be easy in the United States and making up for the 8 million jobs caused by the recession "won't happen overnight."

US unemployment rate edged up to 9.6 percent in August, reflecting business reluctance to hire amid uncertain economic prospects, reported by the US Labor Department.

He pointed out that incomes of middle-class families kept falling, while their living expenses were on the rise.

"I don't believe we can have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle-class," he added.

Obama held that the US private sector had created jobs for the last eight months in a row, and there were roughly 3 million Americans who worked today because of the stimulus plan the administration put in place.

The United States passed a US$787-billion stimulus last year to bolster the economic recovery, but some criticized that it had not create enough jobs as expected.

The Obama administration recently is under increasing pressure to speed up the economic growth and reduce the stubbornly high unemployment rate.

"The truth is, progress has been painfully slow. Millions of jobs were lost before our policies even had a chance to take effect, which is a hole so deep that even though we've added jobs again, millions of American remain unemployed," Obama said.

He added that instead of the tax loopholes that encouraged investment in overseas jobs, the administration was proposing a more generous, permanent extension of tax credit that went to firms for all their research and innovation they would do in the United States.

"I am proposing that all the US businesses should be allowed to write off all the investment they do in 2011. This will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment," Obama added.

US economic expansion lost momentum to an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, the slowest quarterly gain since the US economic activities began to pick up in the second half of last year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2010)

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