Jobs Bill Distortion

The Senate passed a “jobs bill” yesterday, and sent it on to the House to consider approving the $15 billion addition to the deficit. Among possible stimulus bills, though, this isn’t the most terrible plan on record. It is pointless however. From NYT:

The measure would give employers a temporary exemption from payroll taxes for newly hired workers who had been unemployed for 60 days or more. It also seeks to spur spending on public works projects and to encourage business investment by accelerating tax write-offs.

The plan isn’t a big direct spender, though it would be nice to see a reduction in spending along with the tax revenue slash. The big problem is that this is only a temporary exemption, which means that you can hire a bunch of workers now to complete projects upfront, and then dump them once the tax incentive runs out.

Meanwhile, we are paying for this by further draining funds from the social security pool, which is headed for bankruptcy. And when that happens we are either going to fund it from the budget, cut SS benefits or raise the retirement age (if there is still time to save it like that). That means more taxes for the budget, more taxes for welfare programs as seniors struggle economically without the social security they were depending on, or people work more. That last one may actually seem to further employment, since people aren’t retiring, but what it actually does is make it harder for college grads to get a job since there are more people in the labor force.

The jobs bill is also unnecessary, since what the government should really be doing to promote job creation is back out of the policies that are hurting job creation. From the war on Wall Street to housing policies that are screwing with the housing industry, the administration has made the jobs problem worse with its other policies. This jobs bill is like trying to bandage a self-inflicted wound while still creating the wound with a knife. The first step is to stop hurting yourself!