Obama Job Creation Ideas
President Obama flew Air Force One to Chattanooga, Tennessee July 30th to give a speech about job creation at an Amazon.com distribution center.
This speech was different. It contained actual measurable proposals scattered in amongst the usual Congressional insults.
What are those proposals? Which are good? Which are bad? How much will they cost?
Current State of Jobs
Job creation is the #1 problem facing the United States today. Solve that and it helps with other major economic and social issues.
Since October 2007 the civilian labor-age population has increased by 13 million. The civilian labor force, however, has DECREASED by 2.6 million jobs. Aggregate total unemployment leaped to 14.3% last month and the labor participation rate is the lowest its been since the late 1970s… and going down.
President Obama optimistically points out that private-sector job growth is 7.2 million jobs since the darkest hours of the Great Recession.
What the President leaves out is, it still leaves us 7-10 million jobs short of full employment.
The President’s Job Creation Framework
In order, President Obama outlined 5 steps to job creation:
- Manufacturing ($3B)
- Infrastructure ($50B)
- Energy ($37B)
- Exports ($13M+)
- Help 4 million long-term unemployed ($0)
For manufacturing, Obama proposed expanding, from 15 to 45, the number of regional “Manufacturing Innovation Institutes” .
The reason you’ve never heard of them is because they don’t exist yet. President Obama proposed creating the 1st fifteen in his 2014 budget in April. In Chattanooga, he proposed expanding that number to 45. According to House Democrats, that would cost about $3 billion.
For infrastructure, Obama re-proposed his “Fix-it-First” Plan.
In a New York Times 2/20/2013 exclusive, the NYT was given a copy of that plan to report. According to the NYT it has 3 parts:
- $50 billion to fix roads, highways, bridges and transit systems
- Create a National Infrastructure Bank
- Cut regulations to streamline the approval process
For energy, the President proposed supporting Wind, solar and nature gas development.
The President didn’t mention specifics, but here are things in his 2014 budget:
- Advanced energy manufacturing ($2B)
- Refundable renewable energy production tax credit ($17B)
- Energy efficient commercial buildings ($5B)
- Advanced technology vehicles ($4B)
- Energy efficient homes ($6B)
- Low-income energy assistance ($3B)
The President doesn’t have any proposals to support natural gas and has actively decreased natural gas production on federal lands since taking office.
For exports, Obama proposes trade deal authority and expanding SelectUSA
The President would like Congress to give him approval to pursue new international trade agreements like one he signed with South Korea that boosted U.S. Korean car sales by 18%.
For the long-term unemployed, President Obama proposed “challenging CEOs to do more“.
Job creation is the #1 problem facing the United States today.
President Obama deserves credit for talking about it.
The President put a lot of job creation ideas on the table in his Chattanooga speech. Most are recycled old ideas. A couple are new. All told, they would cost about $100 billion. As always, no funding source was proposed.
This is the perfect time for the government to invest in infrastructure improvements. Treasury bond yields, though starting to rise, are still near record lows. Financing infrastructure projects will never be cheaper.
It was a nice political touch to have the smiling, cute blonde prominent within a carefully selected gender and ethnically balanced background crowd. It was probably calculated to draw support from male blue collar workers.
If the President’s team spent as much time building bipartisan consensus for job creation as they do selecting backgrounds for speeches and alienating Congress, then they would get more traction for their ideas.