Obama focused on three elements: investing in infrastructure projects, tax breaks for middle-class families and businesses, and incentives to keep American jobs at home. The most contentious issue is his call to let Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year for families with annual incomes exceeding $250,000. The GOP wants the cuts made permanent regardless of income level. Overall, the proposals face tough prospects in Congress, even though some are similar to past Republican ideas.
1) Obama wants to permanently extend business research and development tax credits, which President George W. Bush called for in his January 2006 State of the Union address.
2) Obama’s plan would also provide a temporary tax break to encourage business capital spending, such as purchasing equipment or making renovations.
3) He wants to help create jobs with further government spending to expand broadband internet access, and to rebuild roads, bridges, airport runways, high speed railroads—the kind of federal largesse that lawmakers of both parties embraced in the past. And while Obama hoped to give Democratic candidates a positive economic agenda, some worry about backing a further “stimulus,” a term now stigmatized by Republicans. In his press conference last Friday, Obama defended last year’s stimulus bill but acknowledged it hasn’t done as much as necessary to help the economy recover. He dodged the question of whether his additional economic measures can be defined as a second stimulus, but said, “I will continue to stimulate growth and jobs as long as I’m president of the United States.”