Washington Desperate to boost employment and their bleak poll numbers, the White House and Democrats in Congress are turning to a Republican idea for stimulating the economy: tax cuts.
With little chance of passing a bill to stimulate the economy through more government spending, some Democrats now want to give employers a break on their Social Security payroll taxes and possibly extend a break for workers.
The most prominent idea would continue and maybe expand the payroll tax cut for individuals which was enacted in December and expires at the end of the year. Some Senate Democrats also want to revive an expired payroll tax holiday for companies that hire unemployed workers.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said gloomy unemployment reports are a wake-up call that the economic recovery is on shaky ground. New poll numbers also show that more and more Americans are unhappy with the way President Barack Obama and Democrats in general are handling the economy and unemployment.
Some 59 percent of adults said they disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy and unemployment, a new high, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Americans are about evenly divided on which party they trust to do a better job on the economy, though Democrats have lost their edge on handling taxes, according to the poll.
Democrats are eager to turn those numbers around as they head into the 2012 election cycle. But Republicans aren’t eager to help them, even if it means passing up the opportunity to enact tax cuts.
Schumer said that tax cuts are not the first choice of many Democrats — some would prefer a package of spending on infrastructure and roads.
“By putting it on the table, it shows how willing we are to work with the Republicans to create jobs,” he said. “It’s pro-business, it’s a tax cut, and many Republicans have been for it in the past.”