As part of Marketplace's coverage of President Barack Obama's address to Congress tonight, in which he unveiled a $447 billion plan to invest in jobs, journalism students from the University of Southern California interviewed Los Angeles-area business owners and business leaders for reaction.
The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest in the United States and growing. Currently, it's on track to post a record year for exports. Robert Curry's logistics and transport business hauls much of the freight that passes through the port. He says the transport sector is gaining momentum, but he fears the overall economy is on the skids and he's not sure politicians are up to the task of getting it back on track.
Robert Curry, president of California Cartage Company
LOCATION: Long Beach, Calif.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1,000+
HIRING THIS YEAR: "Possibly"
On what he's facing now:
"I think the economy is in poor shape. It's very conceivable that we could be going into another recession. We see the pulse of our customers. You can just drive around and see all the foreclosed signs on houses and know. But we're okay. We're a strong company from the standpoint that we're constantly out trying to take business away from somewhere else, which might affect the other company and strengthen us. We're busy, so that's a good sign, but this is peak season."
On the President's speech:
"I don't know where the money is going to come from to pay for all this. Obviously, we need jobs, and I'm one of the few people who doesn't understand where we're going to be able to create these jobs. We've exported our jobs. I think it's very easy to stand up there from a political standpoint and give a lot of rhetoric. But the time that it takes to put together a transportation program, you could conceivably have two or three years go by before you have the first nail pounded. I don't know what lawmakers should do. I have very little faith in Obama and we have a Congress that is split, so the chances of getting anything done are probably pretty slim. I'm not sure if his speech tonight was anything more than political. I'm sad to say, he only cares about being reelected. Obama has shown zero leadership, in my opinion. He is a great speaker, a wonderful speaker. He has charisma. That charisma doesn't transfer into results."
- Sarah Golden