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Thursday night’s televised address to a joint session of Congress is expected to call for a one-year extension of that tax cut, plus billions of dollars more to repair highways, bridges, schools, rails, airports and other infrastructure projects, and a jobs tax credit to reward employers who hire additional workers.

Mr. Obama has proposed the temporary jobs tax credit before but without any success. Employers aren’t hiring because business is poor, and they can’t afford to enlarge their payroll, or they have little confidence that the economy will improve. The offer of a tax credit is irrelevant in the current economic environment.

Mr. Obama’s economic policy is trapped in an ideological aversion to cutting income tax rates permanently. Businesses need tax cuts to improve their bottom line, invest in expansion and unlock venture capital for risk-taking loans. All of this is missing from Obamanomics, which is all about enlarging government instead of enlarging the private business sector and our shrinking labor force.

Republicans, on the other hand, want to broaden the tax base by getting rid of tax loopholes and cutting the tax rates. That is the huge policy gulf that separates the two parties in Congress. In the end, it probably will take an election to decide which course our country takes to get the economy up and running again. The one we’re on certainly isn’t working.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.