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Carney: "The White House Doesn't Create Jobs"

Carol E. Lee of the Wall Street Journal asks White House press secretary Jay Carney about creating jobs and the point of the President's upcoming bus tour in the Midwest. The White House denies this is a campaign event, instead calling it an "official event." Transcript from today's briefing below:

Q Sort of to follow on that, why should Americans believe that the White House can create jobs when the unemployment rate has been so stagnant and the record is sort of anemic?

MR. CARNEY: Well, the White House doesn’t create jobs. The government together -- White House, Congress -- creates policies that allow for greater job creation. And that can be through tax cuts, for example, for working Americans; everyone who works pays a payroll tax. And the tax cut that this President pushed for, for one year, for this calendar year, he’s pushing for to be extended next year.

They can -- he can work to do the things that I just talked about, in terms of fuel-efficiency standards or clean energy investments. He very much supports the creation of an infrastructure bank, which has bipartisan support, which would leverage very relatively minimal amount of taxpayer dollars to allow private companies to hire folks to rebuild our infrastructure, which in turn will help create a more solid foundation for economic growth and job creation.

But as I said yesterday, there’s obviously not one single measure that solves this problem. And we can also do what this President has done, which is cut taxes for small businesses 17 times, because small businesses are the greatest job creators in this economy. So he looks forward to finding other ways that we can do that.

Q I guess what I’m saying is the President has been talking about this, as you said, since he came into office and the results haven’t been what you guys have wanted them to be -- or what Americans have wanted --

MR. CARNEY: Which is why we have to keep working.

Q And so -- and he is going on this bus tour. Like, what can he -- why should people believe him, that he is going to be able to do what he hasn’t been able to do for the last -- since he took office?

MR. CARNEY: Well, he will continue to make the case that we need to take the measures necessary as a country, working together with Congress, to -- that will spur greater economic growth and create more jobs. And he will make the case that we need to do that in ways that -- economic plans we’ve seen from others basically include sustaining or expanding tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, sustaining or expanding subsidies for industries making record profits, slashing spending in programs that assist middle-class Americans, and eliminating or ending programs like Medicare as we know it.

We do not believe that that is a jobs agenda or anything close to it. So what we have to do is reduce our deficit in a balanced way that ensures that we do not actually harm our economic growth prospects or our job creation prospects. And we have to take the measures, the kinds of which I’ve just been discussing, that will further enhance job creation and economic growth.

Q And then, lastly, Senator Portman has an op-ed today, and he suggests that every other time the debt ceiling needs to be raised that Congress do a dollar-for-dollar decrease in the reduction of the deficit. Is that something that the White House --

MR. CARNEY: So make permanent the arbitrary connection between Congress simply allowing that the government should pay the bills that it rings up and link that to, again, arbitrary numbers to reduce spending. Again, this is not a related issue. I would suspect that we do not think that would be a good idea or particularly helpful to economic growth or job creation.

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