Whatever the Jobs Act is about, it isn't jobs. At least not for anyone but President Obama.
We have been having an ongoing debate about the efficacy of Keynesian stimulus in our present economic circumstances. There are those who buy into a relatively clean version of the Keynesian orthodoxy that I learned in introductory macroeconomics thirty years ago. At the risk of oversimplification, the idea is that there is inadequate demand so the government should "inject" money into the economy by borrowing it and that this will cause those who are sitting on their money to change their behavior.
There are all sorts of reasons to think that this won't work in the great run of circumstances and the recent repeated failure of massive stimuli in the form of both spending and tax cuts to have any discernible effect ought to give substantial pause to those who call for more of the same. There are, of course, studies that claim the administrations' 2009 stimulus "created" varying number of jobs at a staggering cost. Other studies claim otherwise and the fact remains that stimulus has not delivered as promised.
But lets put that aside. Keynesian stimulus is not supposed to be "paid for" - at least not during the period in which it is supposed to work its magic. Raising taxes reduces the supposedly stimulative injection of cash into the economy. So Obama's plan to pay for temporary tax cuts and spending with permanent tax cuts is a category mistake. It steps on the (dubious) job creation part of the Jobs Act.*
This gives the game away. The Jobs Act is nothing more than a tax increase. Because the increase is limited to those "millionaires" who earn a quarter of a million and is paired with goodies for everyone, it is intended not to create jobs but political talking points. Republicans will oppose the scheme because it will contribute, as the Wall Street Journal points out, to a tax cliff in 2013. They believe - correctly in my view - that it will create disincentives to economic growth both because of marginal rate increases and further regime uncertainty.
Obama knows that but the objective here is not to create jobs but talking points.
*One could argue that transferring money from higher to lower earners will increase the velocity of money, i.e., the lower earners will spend it while the higher earners would not. This requires quite a few dubious assumptions and, as Megan McCardle points out, is pretty weak tea.