President Obama’s jobs plan, also known as the American Jobs Act, aims to help unemployed Americans return to work. Congress is currently deciding whether to pass the American Jobs Act, reject it, or try to modify it. This article will explain some of the possible effects of Obama’s jobs plan on unemployed Americans, along with some of the criticisms of the plan.
Obama’s jobs plan would keep unemployment benefits at the same level, establish reemployment programs, and give companies incentives to hire the long-term unemployed.
The phrase “long-term unemployed” refers to people who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. The Department of Labor’s August Employment Situation report found that 6 million U.S. residents are facing long-term unemployment.
According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, Obama’s jobs plan would keep the current unemployment benefit limit set at 99 weeks. Without the renewal, the limit would expire at the end of 2011. This could give the long-term unemployed more time to get back on their feet.
States would also be required to begin robust reemployment programs to help the long-term unemployed. Companies would have the opportunity to give unemployed people a free trial run while the workers receive payment from unemployment insurance funds. Plus, companies would receive a tax credit worth up to $4,000 to hire people who have been unemployed for over 6 months.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, some labor advocates worry that companies could abuse these opportunities to take advantage of desperate unemployed Americans
Passing Obama’s American Jobs Act would make discriminating against the unemployed illegal.
As ironic as it sounds, it is not uncommon for companies to discriminate against unemployed Americans.
A recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles found that, all other factors being equal, employers were less interested in interviewing or hiring unemployed applicants. This was true even when the applicant under consideration had been laid off or quit voluntarily.
A recent CNNMoney article by senior writer Chris Isidore confirms that discrimination against unemployed Americans is a serious issue. Many job ads have begun including restrictions like “unemployed candidates will not be considered” and “must be currently employed.” Even international phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson included this restriction in an ad for a new position in Georgia, according to Isidore.
Obama’s jobs bill would make this type of discrimination illegal. Employers would no longer be allowed to place ads saying they won’t consider unemployed Americans or to refuse to hire anyone solely because of their employment status, according to an analysis by Pete Kasperowicz of The Hill. This is found in a part of the bill titled “Prohibition of Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of an Individual’s Status as Unemployed.”
However, Representative Louie Gohmert says some unemployed Americans might abuse this new law by filing trivial lawsuits against companies who choose not to hire them for legitimate reasons. He argues that companies might be less inclined to interview unemployed Americans out of fear of being sued.
Obama’s American Jobs Act would provide funds to hire back teachers who were laid off.
Obama’s jobs plan would put $30 billion toward hiring back teachers who were laid off and preventing more layoffs, according to a recent article by U.S. News & World Report. The plan could save 280,000 teaching positions while helping schools hire back tens of thousands more who were laid off.
However, Rick Newman of U.S. News & World Report says Congressional Republicans are not likely to go along with this type of spending, which is similar to what was already attempted with the 2009 stimulus plan. Many Republicans consider the 2009 stimulus plan unsuccessful.
The American Jobs Act would fund renovations to provide jobs for construction workers.
Obama’s jobs plan tries to address the needs of the over one million unemployed construction workers in the United States.
According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, Obama’s jobs plan would create jobs for construction workers by putting $95 billion toward renovating community colleges, schools, roads, waterways, airports, railroads, vacant houses, and foreclosed homes. Obama’s jobs plan would also put $10 billion toward paying for a national infrastructure bank to utilize public and private investments to cover construction projects.
But, critics argue there may not be long-term growth ahead of the construction industry, according to the Wall Street Journal. Adolfo Laurenti of the financial services company Mesirow Financial says that construction workers just aren’t in as much demand as they were during the housing boom, so Obama’s jobs plan might just provide a temporary boost for these unemployed Americans.
Rick Newman warns that Republicans are unlikely to support this level of spending, since the 2009 stimulus plan investment in construction was seen as relatively ineffective.
The bottom line on Obama’s jobs plan…
Obama’s American Jobs Act is meant to affect unemployed Americans by giving companies incentives to hire the long-term unemployed, make discrimination against unemployed people illegal, provide funds to hire back teachers who were laid off, and create jobs for construction workers. However, critics of the plan say companies could abuse the ability to hire unemployed Americans as temporary workers, unemployed Americans could abuse the ability to sue companies, and hiring back teachers along with creating jobs for construction workers already flopped in 2009.
Whether or not the American Jobs Act makes it through Congress, the media coverage of Obama’s jobs plan has raised public awareness of the problems facing unemployed Americans, particularly teachers, construction workers, and the long-term unemployed. Only time will tell when and how these issues will be resolved.