Jobs bill scaled down in U.S. Senate

Feb. 13, 2010 at 1:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Economists say a jobs bill scaled down in the U.S. Senate amid political opposition should not be seen as a major employment solution.

University of California, Berkeley Professor Harley Shaiken is among those economists warning the altered legislation facing a Feb. 22 vote may not improve hiring dramatically in the United States, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

"It is better than nothing, but it ought not be confused with a solution to the jobs problem," Shaiken said. "What the Senate is talking about is not in the ballpark of what needs to happen to address this problem."

The initial $85 billion legislative package proposed by the White House and Senate Democrats was scaled down to four popular provisions totaling $15 billion by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., Friday.

Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel questioned one of the provisions of Reid's new bill that would give businesses a $1,000 tax credit for hiring new employees.

"You're spreading a small amount of money over a large amount of activity, so on average, you're not providing much incentive whatsoever," Mishel told the Post of the lack of up-front cash incentives for those businesses hiring new workers.

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