[UPDATE: Read the full staff report (pdf) and watch it live via local news]
A couple preview stories out this morning:
Larry Bivins, Gannett newspapers – March 19, 2009
The Middle Class Task Force road show rolls into St. Cloud today, with Vice President Joe Biden leading a cast of Cabinet chiefs and White House advisers.
But they're not coming to talk so much as they're coming to listen, to hear how Minnesotans are handling the economy and how they want their government to help.
"We're not just going to toot our own horn, we're going to hear how people are coping with this very tough economy," said Jared Bernstein, the task force executive director.
In that sense, the town hall meeting at the New Flyer of America Inc. will be markedly different from the group's first meeting Feb. 27 in Philadelphia, where a group of experts sounded off on the merits of so-called green jobs in enhancing the economy.
Thursday's meeting centers on how the $787 billion economic stimulus package can benefit the middle class.
For example, the combination of job and tax initiatives will add $3,000 to the incomes of some middle-class families, "significantly offsetting their income losses over the recession," according to a draft of a task force report to be released today.
Darlene Superville, Associated Press - March 19, 2009
Middle-class families can look to the promise of new jobs, and rely on the economic recovery package for help getting through the recession, an Obama administration economist says.
President Barack Obama has set up a task force to study ways to aid the middle class, and a town-hall style meeting set for Thursday in St. Cloud, Minn., offered people a chance to talk directly to Vice President Joe Biden and other officials. The session was to examine how middle-class people can benefit from the $787 billion stimulus measure Obama signed last month.
"If you look at the benefits that the typical middle-income, working family yields from a better jobs outlook, along with some of the tax benefits that are in the package, you're talking about adding something in the neighborhood of $3,000 to the average income of middle-class families," said Jared Bernstein, Biden's chief economist and executive director of the Middle-Class Task Force.
The legislation aims to save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year and reduce unemployment, which hit 8.1 percent in February. A draft of a report to be released at the meeting says every 1 percentage point drop in unemployment raises family incomes by up to 2 percent, which could mean as much as an extra $1,300 for middle-class families.