By Alister Bull and Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered modest steps to spur jobs and defended his push to get the U.S. economy growing, amid deep public dismay over double-digit unemployment that has eroded his popularity.
Obama proposed small business tax cuts and energy efficiency rebates — a so-called cash-for-caulkers program — to boost jobs, but gave no details on the cost of the action.
He also called for an extension of unemployment and health insurance benefits for the more than 15 million out-of-work Americans, and stressed that reducing the jobless rate was the best way to tackle the country’s record deficit.
“There are those who claim we have to choose between paying down our deficits on the one hand, and investing in job creation and economic growth on the other. But this is a false choice,” Obama said in a speech.
There was no immediate financial market reaction to his remarks, which had been broadly anticipated.