President Obama is highlighting the positive numbers in Friday’s employment report, taking credit for 29 straight months of slow-but-steady job increases even as he concedes that too many Americans are still out of work.
Mr. Obama and Democrats are pointing to the 172,000 jobs create in July, slightly higher than expected and the biggest number since February, but Republicans are focusing on an increase in the unemployment rate from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent as the key statistic coming out of the latest jobs report.
“This morning, we learned that our businesses created 172,000 new jobs in the month of July. That means that we’ve now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months — and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year,” Mr. Obama said. “Those are our neighbors and family members finding work, and the security that comes with work.”
“But let’s acknowledge — we’ve still got too many folks out there who are looking for work. We’ve got to do more on their behalf — not only to reclaim all the jobs that were lost during the recession, but also to reclaim the kind of financial security that too many Americans have felt slipping away from them for too long,” Mr. Obama said at an event focused on advocating new middle-class tax cuts.
During his remarks, the president punctuated his three-day attack on Mitt Romney’s tax-plan as a hike on the middle-class and a boon for the rich and continued to assail Republicans for refusing to send him a stand-alone bill extending tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans.
Before leaving town for an August recess, earlier this week the GOP-led House passed an extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts — for brackets including Americans in the top 2 percent of all wage-earners.
Standing in front of a group of men and women representing middle-class families, Mr. Obama said he was disappointed that Republicans left town without extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000. Under his plan, he said, even multimillionaires and billionaires wouldn’t see taxes go up on their first $250,000 of income.
“They want to give millionaires and billionaires and folks like me a tax cut that we don’t need and the country can’t afford even though middle-class families will have to pick up the tab for it,” he said.
Mr. Obama criticized Mr. Romney’s tax plan without mentioning his GOP opponent by name, arguing that “one plan” would amount to an average increase of $2,000 on middle-class families with children.
“I just think we have our priorities skewed if we give tax breaks to folks who don’t need them and tax hikes to those who are struggling to get by,” he said.
The president based his information on a report from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, whose findings the Obama campaign seized on this week to buttress their argument against a full extension of the tax cuts instituted during President Bush’s time in office.
The Romney camp have tried to brush off the attacks over the report for the last few days, arguing that the Tax Policy Center’s study is “liberal” and “biased” and doesn’t take into account Mr. Romney’s plan to lower corporate tax rates and reduce federal spending enough to balance the budget by 2020, boosting economic growth and thereby eliminating the need to increase taxes on the middle class.
Instead of increasing taxes on anyone during a bad economy, Mr. Romney and Republicans argue that Washington should be lowering taxes across the board as a way to infuse money back into the economy and lighten the tax load of businesses and job creators.