Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is Obama Doing Enough To Create Jobs?

cross-posted from Huffington Post

Is Obama Doing Enough To Create Jobs?:
Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post

Even as one in 10 Americans remain unable to find work and President Obama has established job creation as his 'number one focus' this year, the legislative proposals being seriously discussed in Washington don't even come close to addressing the problem, according to some leading economists.

Among the White House's proposals is a payroll tax holiday to incentivize firms to hire more workers. Two competing ideas, one from Senators Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and another from Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), propose similar plans but with small differences in detail. The latter is expected to be introduced in legislation the week after next by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

But the consensus among many economists is that what's really needed are public works projects and major investments in infrastructure and education to create long-term, sustainable jobs.

Economists, including
James K. Galbraith, Dean Baker, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich, say the short-term moves being considered on Capitol Hill -- such as marginal tax credits and funds to boost lending to small businesses -- are likely to fizzle out. They're good ideas but they just don't go far enough to reverse the loss of more than 8 million jobs over the last two years.

Galbraith wants a government-created financing network that will lend money to businesses and industries which align with long-term U.S policy initiatives, like energy consumption and renewal. Extending unemployment benefits is also a good idea, Galbraith said, but it's a relief measure, not a job-creation one.

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