September 17, 2011

Manchin not sold on Obama's jobs plan | Charleston Gazette

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will support some — but not all — the provisions in the American Jobs Act, whose details were released by President Obama during a news conference Monday in the Rose Garden.

“We face serious challenges,” Manchin said during a telephone news conference Friday. “The two biggest ones are the deficit/debt crisis and the jobs crisis.”

The projected deficit for fiscal year 2012, which begins on Oct. 1, is $1.1 trillion.

“This is a death spiral of debt,” Manchin said. “It will be the fourth straight year with a debt more than $1 trillion. We have never been close to anything like this before. . . .

“I listened respectfully to the president giving his speech on the jobs proposals,” he said. “I have serious reservations about his proposals. I want to look at it and study it further.

“If spending money would solve our crisis in America, we wouldn’t have a problem right now.”

Obama’s jobs legislation would cost close to $450 billion, which includes a proposal to extend payroll cuts for another year on money going to the Social Security Administration. “Payroll tax cuts sound good. They would increase from a 2 percent to nearly a 3 percent reduction,” Manchin said. “It will cost $240 billion to extend that for another year, but it cripples and does irreparable damage to Social Security. I am not sure people realize that.

“We have tried it for one year — and it brought no changes. They told us how much it would stimulate the economy, but none of that has happened,” Manchin said. “Now, we have got to borrow money to pay Social Security. It just created a deeper hole and it didn’t give us any results.”

Congress, Manchin said, should focus on ending tax loopholes, tax offsets and credits, tax shelters and allowing American companies to operate from offices overseas.

“You have companies like GE paying nothing [in domestic income taxes] after making $5 billion last year,” he said. Manchin also criticized the “Solyndra fiasco.”

The California-based solar panel manufacturer and technology firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, after having received more than $500 million in loans from the Obama administration to generate “green energy.” About 1,100 employees lost their jobs.

“There are a lot of questions about that loan. Due diligence had not been done,” Manchin said. “I want wind, I want solar power, but not at that price.” Manchin said he also believes Congress needs “to rein in the out-of-control regulatory agencies,” such as the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Asked about the financial crisis facing the U.S. Postal Service, Manchin said he wants to see proposals other than simply cutting employment and closing post offices and service centers.

“I would start with management. I would clean house at the top first,” he said. “I think we should do everything we can to preserve the Postal Service of America. But I know we have to run it more efficiently and effectively.”

Manchin said he opposes legislation to increase federal gasoline taxes.

“We commute more miles to get to work than most states in the nation,” he said.“We can’t put any more burdens on driving and the cost of gasoline. We pay a higher price to begin with. We have no refineries in our state.”

Additionally, Manchin said he wants to see more money dedicated to finishing ongoing road projects.

“Let’s finish Corridor H,” he said of the incomplete highway that would link Interstate 79 at Weston to the Virginia border. “Our economy will pick up.”  

By:  Paul J. Nyden
Source: Junior W.Va. senator says spending more tax dollars won't help