US President Barack Obama unveiled a 33-billion-dollar package of tax cuts Friday to encourage small businesses to hire new workers, as he takes aim at 10 percent unemployment.
Obama, who has made job creation the top priority of his administration, spoke as the White House got a rare economic boost when GDP data showed growth for the fourth quarter at a higher than expected 5.7 percent.
“It is time to put America back to work. We have had two very tough years,” Obama said, as he toured a small factory in Baltimore, Maryland.
The proposal, which must be passed by Congress, would allow small businesses to claim a 5,000-dollar tax credit for every new employee they hire and to be reimbursed for Social Security retirement taxes on increased payrolls.
The firms will be allowed to claim the credit every quarter, so they do not have to wait until the end of the tax year to benefit from the plan, previewed by Obama on Wednesday in his State of the Union address.
The total cost of the proposal is 33 billion dollars, according to the White House.
Obama said the GDP growth estimate “affirms our progress and the swift and aggressive actions that made it possible,” arguing that his economic policies have staved off the threat of a second Great Depression.
“Just to give you perspective there, that’s the fastest economic growth in six years, and it’s a stark improvement over the rapid and terrible decline that we were experiencing one year ago.”
But Obama noted that although the economy was growing, a swift rise in job creation was lacking, meaning initiatives like the new hiring incentive were needed.
“Companies are recovering but not yet taking that next step and taking on somebody full time,” Obama said after touring Chesapeake Machine Company, a custom manufacturing and metal factory.
Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight
A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."
It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.
The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.
The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.
Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank
Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.
The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.
Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.
Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.
Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns
Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.
In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.
The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.
"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."