Administration Looks At More Half-Way Stimulus Methods

Oy. This White House is just so timid, so careful, so freakin' measured about everything that what should be serious policy making turns into an extended game of "Mother May I?":

With just two months until the November elections, the White House is seriously weighing a package of business tax breaks - potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars - to spur hiring and combat Republican charges that Democratic tax policies hurt small businesses, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations.

Among the options under consideration are a temporary payroll-tax holiday and a permanent extension of the now-expired research-and-development tax credit, which rewards companies that conduct research into new technologies within the United States.

[...] White House officials cautioned that no tax cuts have been settled on and that a more limited measure could emerge. Policy staffers are debating a range of options. For example, a payroll-tax holiday - a top priority of many business groups - could be applied only to new hires or extended to current employees. It could be limited to small businesses or extended to larger firms.

[...] Permanently extending the research credit would cost roughly $100 billion over the next decade, tax analysts said. And depending on its form and duration, a payroll-tax holiday could cost more than $300 billion. While costing significantly less than last year's stimulus package, both ideas would be far more dramatic than anything the White House has so far acknowledged considering.

More spending on infrastructure, particularly transportation projects, is also under discussion. But it would be easier for a package composed purely of tax cuts to "avoid the stain of a 'bailout' or 'stimulus' label," said one official familiar with the talks, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were private.

Yeah, God forbid the administration actually back something that will directly stimulate the economy, (you know, like creating jobs or paying unemployment benefits to the people who have run out) rather than playing cautious politics. That strategy's worked so well, don't you think? Gee, do you think it might even be why we're looking at a Republican tsunami?

And what will the Republicans do if they win? Why, they'll go back to ignoring the deficit and immediately pass a heaping mess o' tax cuts to put Obama on the spot. What are the odds he has the spine to veto them?


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