The Senate Jobs Bill: Is it the Answer?
The Senate just got around to passing a jobs bill that, if left unchanged by the House, will allocate some $13 billion to job creation. Well, at least we think it’ll help create jobs: the funds, according to BusinessWeek, will “fight unemployment by offering companies a one-year holiday from paying a 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax for each of the new workers they add who meet the 60-day unemployed criteria.”
All well and good, it would seem: what could go wrong with a plan that makes it cheaper for employers to hire workers? Not much–provided the bill includes some sort of provision that prevents employers from picking up the tax holiday if they jettison existing workers to replace them with the long-term unemployed so they can save on their tax bills. But they’ll have thought of that…right?
One other point that bears considering: is this something that’s likely to adversely affect the employment prospects of someone who’s been out of work for less than two months? For example: picture an interview scenario where two equally qualified people are competing for the same job. One’s been unemployed for a month, the other for nine. All things being equal, you’re probably going to hire the worker that’s 6.2 percent cheaper, right?
All told, these are fairly minor quibbles with a bill that seems otherwise very well intentioned. If nothing else, it’s refreshing to see the jobs issue finally being taken seriously in Washington. Job growth is the key to economic growth—at least in the short term—and any measure that will stimulate that is more than welcome, even if it’s overdue. It’s refreshing, too, to see Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggesting that this bill is a mere starting point. “We have a jobs agenda, not a jobs bill,” quotes The New York Times. “We’re going to have more votes, and create more jobs.”
For more insight and analysis on the job front, check out Vault’s Pink Slipped blog.