POSTED: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - 9:06am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm
President delivers controversial tax reform plan...
In Washington today, all eyes and ears will be on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as he delivers an update to lawmakers on the health of the U.S. economy. President Obama delivered his own controversial tax plan this week.
This is like a check-up after major and risky economic surgery. Look for a cautious statement from the fed chairman that the recession may be loosening its grip.
Among the questions for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke today: is the economy sprouting a turnaround? Pending home sales and new construction were better than expected in March.
Wall Street loved the news.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, an economics analyst at the Hudson Institute, said "we might have hit rock bottom already, that we might be on the upswing."
But even the White House expects April's jobs report, out Friday, to be grim.
Austan Goolsbee of the White House Council of Economic Advisors said "we're likely to have several more rough job reports."
Officials say jobless numbers will likely rise all year.
So what about the stimulus? Vice President Joe Biden said good news from it is coming to his Wilmington Amtrak station and elsewhere
Vice President Biden said "we're spending a lot of time and money - why? It's about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs! That's why we cannot wait!"
What also can't wait, President Obama said, is tax reform. He proposes a crackdown on companies and individuals that park cash overseas to avoid the IRS. The president said it would bring in $210 billion over ten years.
President Obama said "wavings we can use to reduce the deficit, cut taxes for American businesses that are playing by the rules."
The president says he wants to reward companies that profit in the U.S. and hire American. But critics, including NBC's parent GE, McDonald's, and Microsoft say his plan amounts to punishment.
Andrew Lyon of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said "wo it becomes more expensive for a company to hire a U-S worker than to operate abroad."
So far the president's proposal gets a lukewarm reception in the senate
Senators in both parties worry U.S. companies could be put at a disadvantage abroad. The president is counting on the new tax revenue, though without it deficit projections climb higher.