BY DAVID GAMBACORTA
Philadelphia Daily News
VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden might have discovered a new campaign slogan yesterday in Philadelphia:
“You don’t have to be poor to be patriotic.”
Yeah, it’s not quite as optimistic as “Hope” and “Yes We Can,” two of the sunny slogans that Biden and President Obama rode to victory in 2008.
But times have changed. The country is still struggling to overcome the crippling effects of a recession that seems to have never ended.
So where does the potential new slogan fit in?
Biden uttered the words as he stumped for a key portion of Obama’s American Jobs Act in front of hundreds of students and law-enforcement officials inside Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania.
Part of the plan calls for putting tens of thousands of unemployed cops, firefighters and teachers back to work.
Those efforts – which Biden said would cost about $30 billion – could be paid for by raising taxes by 5 percent on people who make at least $1 million.
“Who is against putting them back to work?” he asked, in a bid to put Republicans who have opposed the jobs plan on the hot seat.
“The choice is clear . . . You don’t have to be poor to be patriotic.”
Biden focused much of his speech – and remarks at an earlier meeting with Mayor Nutter, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other police chiefs – on the impact the recession has had on police departments across the country.
“Close to 10,000 police officers have been laid off nationwide,” he said, while referring directly to police layoffs that have occurred in Camden and in Flint, Mich.
The American Jobs Act would provide enough funding to hire between 15,000 and 18,000 cops, Biden said.
Other portions of the $447-billion act would provide tax cuts to small businesses, repair the country’s infrastructure and provide tax credits to businesses that hire military veterans.
Biden assailed critics of the jobs plan who have said the hirings will only be temporary.
“It’s not temporary for someone whose life you save because you show up,” he said.
Ramsey heaped praise on Biden, calling him a “true friend of law enforcement.”
* Penn’s Wharton School will play host to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Friday. Cantor is expected to discuss ways to grow the economy.
– Staff writer Chris Brennan contributed to this report.
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