American Jobs Act Is 57 Percent Tax Breaks, GOP Fails To Notice

September 09, 2011 11:59 am ET — Alan Pyke

President Obama's American Jobs Act is already being attacked by congressional Republicans, many of whom characterize it as '$500 billion' in "new spending." But nearly 60 percent of the proposal's $447 billion cost comes from tax relief provisions, putting conservatives in the difficult position of arguing that Republican tax cuts pay for themselves, while President Obama's tax breaks will bulge deficits.

A White House fact sheet breaking the bill down to its component parts shows that it includes fully $253 billion in tax relief. Cuts to payroll taxes total $240 billion — $65 billion on the employer side, and $175 billion on the worker side — and tax credits for businesses and the long-term unemployed amount to another $13 billion, according to the administration document.

The president also challenged Congress to find additional cuts to offset the entirety of the package's cost, including the tax provisions, while promising a deficit-reduction package of his own (to be revealed 10 days from today) that would offset the jobs bill in the event that Congress fails to rise to his challenge.

In other words, President Obama has proposed a jobs bill that is 57 percent tax breaks, while calling on Congress to get even more ambitious about the deficit reduction Republicans have made the centerpiece of their agenda. Yet in their rush to criticize, Republicans are portraying him as a hardheaded partisan ideologue who loves spending for spending's sake.