President Obama’s new jobs plan has prompted the latest round of rhetorical combat between former Virginia Govs. George Allen (R) and Timothy M. Kaine (D), as the two Senate candidates accused each other of promoting the wrong prescription for the ailing economy.
Obama delivered details of his proposal to a joint session of Congress Thursday night and then followed that with another speech on jobs at the University of Richmond Friday. Kaine, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, attended Obama’s Friday speech in Richmond and praised Obama’s plan.
“I agree that in order to jump-start the economy, we must lower taxes for small business, invest in infrastructure projects and put more money back in working families’ pockets by extending the payroll tax cut,” Kaine said in a release issued Thursday night, while adding that Congress should pursue “long term economic growth and stability” by “employ[ing] a balanced approach to fiscal responsibility and job creation that emphasizes a combination of budget cuts and new revenues by rolling back tax breaks for corporations who don’t need them and the wealthiest Americans.”
Allen, for his part, was highly critical of Obama’s plan and sought to tie his opponent to the proposal.
“After two and a half years of defending this Administration, my opponent Tim Kaine continues to fail to offer any new ideas other than the same tax, borrow and spend policies that have been paralyzing job-creating businesses with burdensome regulations and policies stunting our economic growth,” Allen said in a press release.
Obama’s plan is a mix of tax cuts and new spending on schools and infrastructure projects. It includes a call to extend and expand the payroll tax cut that was enacted earlier this year, a proposal that has divided Republicans.
Some in the GOP argue the payroll tax cut would add to the deficit without stimulating job growth, but many economists say differently, and Democrats note that — under the logic used by many Republicans in other tax debates — letting the payroll tax cut expire could be viewed as a tax increase.
An Allen campaign aide said that Allen would not necessarily be opposed to extending the payroll tax cut, but he still believed his own economic proposal was preferable to Obama’s overall.