Is jobs summit just PR?

A jobs sign in lures workers in Louisiana

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama kicks off a big summit in Washington today. Economists, business leaders and union officials are among those who will share ideas for tackling the unemployment issue in this country. Let's talk to Marketplace's Amy Scott, who's with us live at our bureau in New York. Hi Amy.

Amy Scott: Hi there.

Chiotakis: So who's expected at this summit today?

Scott: Well the CEOs of companies like Google and AT&T. We've got union bosses, mayor, academics. More than 100 people who will be brainstorming ideas for creating jobs.

Chiotakis: Now can we expect anything of substance to come out of this, Amy, or is this just a bunch of PR?

Scott: Well critics have called this political theater. But I talked to John Coleman, who teaches economics at the Fuqua School of Business. He says there's nothing wrong with a little public relations right now.

John Coleman: The main concern right now about the U.S. economy is the fear of the future. And one role the president has to play is giving confidence to the people that the economy is on track and moving forward. A lot of that is PR.

Coleman, by the way, favors cutting the deficit and creating a more favorable business climate rather than more stimulus spending. But the president is likely to hear a lot of ideas today that call for more government spending.

Chiotakis: And any specifics Amy?

Scott: Well the Wall Street Journal is reporting one idea. Princeton University economist Alan Blinder is expected to pitch a $60-billion program he says would put 2 million people to work cleaning parks and fixing roads. The AFL-CIO, meanwhile, is calling for a much bigger plan.

Chiotakis: All right, Marketplace's New York bureau chief with us this morning. Amy, thanks.

Scott: You're welcome.

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