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Biden promotes Jobs Bill in Plymouth

Vice President Joe Biden visited the campus of Plymouth State University last week to highlight key features of President Obama’s Jobs Bill. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
October 26, 2011
PLYMOUTH—Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Plymouth last Thursday, Oct. 20, to address students and local New Hampshire residents about President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act, currently being considered in Congress.

Biden said that he wasn't there to talk about what is going to happen next November.

"This is about what we have to do now, not next week, next month or next year," said Biden. "The American people can't wait for next November."

Speaking to a full house in Plymouth State University's Heritage Commons, Biden said that long before the current recession even began in 2007, the middle class in America was "under siege."

"In the previous decade, before the current recession, the middle class was getting killed," said Biden. "During that period between 2001 – 2007, productivity of American workers was up 20 percent, but median income of the middle class dropped by $2,100 during this time. During that same period, the median income of the wealthiest American rose by 50 percent. So the question is, how do we maintain the deal that is at the essence of who we are as Americans…that ensures that everybody gets a shot? How do we restore the middle class… create not just jobs, but whole new industries for the 21st Century?"

He took note of the educational and infrastructure investments that he saw being made in China during a recent visit. He then went on to spell out an argument that we need to modernize schools, invest in infrastructure, energy upgrades and research and development if we are going to attract business investment for the future.

"Do you think the rest of the world is just waiting around?" asked Biden. "We need to do the non-ideological things that Republicans have historically supported… things that independent observers tell us will work."

"There are two visions about how to go about this," said Biden. "They are deeply held visions, and both sides deeply believe that they know the way forward. One of these visions says that if we continue to lower taxes on the wealthiest one or two percent of people in the country, that they will invest that money and it will generate new growth, generate new industries and new opportunities. They actually do believe that an unregulated Wall Street is the most efficient and effective way to allocate capital in the markets. And they believe that we can cut our way to prosperity.

"The other vision says that we are strongest in this country when everybody carries their fair share…and that a regulated Wall Street, which is more transparent, less risky, is a more productive engine for economic growth… because it is private enterprise that drives this economy, not government. And this vision says that cutting spending simply isn't enough. We have to invest in education, innovation and infrastructure—the economic drivers of this economy. This view is based on a fundamental premise of fairness and shared responsibility."

The first step is to give the economy a jolt right now, because people are hurting, according to Biden. For example, he argued that President Obama's Jobs Bill would put many thousands of teachers, police officers and firefighters back on the job protecting their communities. The objective is to put people back to work immediately so that they can earn a paycheck and create demand in the economy. To pay for it, the Jobs Bill would levy a one-half percent tax on just the first of every dollar over a million in annual income. If you make less than $1 million a year, there would be no increase in taxes.

"That doesn't seem like much of a hardship to me," said Biden, suggesting that it would amount to an annual difference of about $500 in increased tax burden on someone making $3 million a year, in an economy where, for example, the unemployment rate for veterans is currently 11.2 percent. Meanwhile, he said, the Jobs Bill would enable Congress to cut taxes for the middle class and small business, where most jobs are actually created.

"It is not about constraining capitalism," said Biden. "It is about restoring capitalism so that it works properly…so that it directs capital to productive investments, and allocates capital to the most productive uses. After all, it is all guaranteed by you, the American people. The American people have held up their end of the bargain. It was the taxpayers that supported the financial system when Wall Street stopped serving us, ending in a financial meltdown brought about by unregulated and unscrupulous behavior on Wall Street.

"Where is it written… where is it written… that your generation in this country cannot dominate the world economically as we did in the previous 75 to 100 years?" asked Biden?

Speaking directly to the students in the audience, he concluded, "I believe that you, the 9/11 generation, is the most giving and the most capable that this nation has ever produced. We simply need to give you the tools you need, and you will be successful."

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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