President Obama stopped the crushing economic free fall that began four months before he took office in January 2009 – the result of years of failed policies under George W. Bush. In signing the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in March 2009, he fueled economic growth amid the worst recession since the Great Depression. The ARRA cut taxes for small businesses and 95% of working families, saved existing teaching and public safety jobs, and directed funding to the states for public construction projects.
The ARRA together with a number of related policies and actions resulted in an economy that produced more than 5.2 million private-sector jobs between its passage and November 2012.
In the fall of 2011, in his American Jobs Act, the President laid out a detailed series of policy proposals to create and save millions of jobs through: stimulus spending in the form of immediate infrastructure investments; tax credits for workers and employers to encourage consumer spending and job growth; and shoring up of local budgets to prevent further layoffs of teachers and public safety officers. GOP members of Congress rejected the plan although smaller elements have been passed, such as the transportation infrastructure bill signed into law by the President on July 6, 2012.
With the 2012 election behind us, the Obama Administration and progressive allies must refocus their legislative energy on creating good, sustainable jobs. Bacweb.org will keep members apprised as these measures arise.