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The economy and Obama's 'grumpy voter' problem

As the US economy recovers at a snail's pace, President Obama is urging Congress to act on his 'to-do' list for creating more jobs. Republicans focus on the dangers of tax increases when tax cuts expire in January. Come November, who will voters believe?

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“Right now, Congress should pass a bill to help states prevent more layoffs, so we can put thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers back on the job,” Obama continued. “Congress should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our runways. Instead of just talking a good game about job creators, Congress should give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages. Let’s get that done.” 

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Speaking for Republicans Saturday, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas warned of a “Taxmageddon” unless current tax rates are extended. That includes the so-called Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans as well as the payroll tax cut that Obama and Congress agreed to earlier this year.

“Unless Congress and the President act, January will bring us the largest tax increase in American history – a tax increase of roughly $500 billion,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Make no mistake: every single working American will see his or her taxes go up on January 1st absent action. Family budgets will be squeezed even tighter. Disposable income will shrink. And many jobs will be destroyed.”

“This would be a body blow for our economy and it could easily push us back into a recession,” Cornyn warned. “Everyone knows that, including the President, who seems to prefer campaigning to governing, demonstrating a disappointing unwillingness to lead.”

The preferred remedy for the GOP? Electing a new president in November.

At the moment, Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck in the polls. If there’s any good-news glimmer for Obama, it’s that some key battleground states (like Ohio, Colorado, and Virginia) are doing better than the nation as a whole.

“Most of the swing states by the third quarter of this year will have a lower unemployment rate than the national average,” Xu Cheng, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, told Politico.com. “And most of the battlegrounds will be below 8 percent unemployment, which will negate the ‘grumpy voter effect.’”

Still, there are critical first Fridays – the day each month when employment figures come out – between now, the party conventions, and the election.

The question for Obama is, will they create more grumpy voters wanting to end his presidency?

RECOMMENDED: Unemployment rate: How many Americans are really unemployed?

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