No clear solution to U.S. jobs problem

President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting at North Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., where he discussed the national debt.

Adriene Hill: There are a whole lot of people with a whole lot of suggestions for how to grow a whole lot of jobs. On Thursday, President Obama will offer his plan. In a speech yesterday, he offered a small taste, including rebuilding bridges and roads.

Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a letter detailing its ideas for bumping job numbers. Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney will also weigh in this week. But which plans might actually work?

Georgetown economist Harry Holzer joins me now. Good morning, Harry.

Harry Holzer: Good morning.

Hill: So when we're talking about job creation, what ideas are out there right now?

Holzer: There's really two strands. There are things that will put more money in the hands of consumers to stimulate general demand. And there's also ideas to more directly create more jobs, either in the public or the private sector. So for instance in the latter category, you'd put things like an infrastructure bank, or certain kinds of tax credits to employers that create jobs. Whereas in the first category, things like extending the payroll tax cut that was enacted last year.

Hill: And which of these plans and ideas can create enough jobs to actually matter, and to help the economy?

Holzer: That's really hard to figure, because that depends on how much the administration and Congress want to invest. The more resources you're going to put into these areas, the bigger the bang would be. In some areas, like tax credits for employment, if that were actually enacted, for pretty modest sums, you could get some decent new job creation -- enough that you'd notice.

Hill: And what are the chances of any of these plans actually getting through Congress and getting through the White House right now?

Holzer: Frankly, the Republicans have an incentive to not do anything because that improves their chances to win the White House in 2012. But given the seriousness of the situation, and given that they may look obstructionist if they do nothing, one can imagine that there might be a few items that they can come to agreement on, like certain kinds of tax cuts. The payroll tax cut, maybe the employment tax cut. Then of course the other question is, will they demand a very high price tag in return for anything like that?

Hill: And what do you think?

Holzer: I'm a little skeptical right now, to be honest. I suppose we should keep our minds open and keep our ears open and hear what happens.

Hill: Georgetown economist Harry Holzer, thanks so much.

Holzer: Thank you, my pleasure.

Log in to post2 Comments

Forget economics 101, anyone with a grain of common sense knows instinctively that an economy, personal, family, company or national will not work unless those directly affected feel confident. There are millions of American families, under water, financing a worthless debt, simply because they were foolish enough to buy a house, to live in, at the market price. Until they begin to feel that their situation will be relieved, there will be no confidence and no recovery. Period. Bernanke, Obama, whoever; must urgently address this issue or the national economy will fester for years to come. Americans are diligent and industrious and when necessary imaginative. In the meantime, we have all endured the bewildering spectacle of billions of dollars of public money, poured into the coffers of financial institutions, these gamekeepers turned poachers the shameless architects of the current malaise. The results? Millions of decent families left hung out to dry. It would not need a genius to craft the necessary legislation to allow (force) the lenders, with assistance from the IRS, to become imaginative regarding restructuring these mortgages which otherwise will keep the brakes on all the attempts the government might make to ‘kick start’ economic activity.
Who in their right mind will spend more money on a house now worth tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars below market price?
Someone MUST turn on the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you agree, send a copy of this message to your member of Congress.

Partison Politics as they are, if you are an everyday American that wants something to happen vote in the November 2012 election!! Gridlock is smuthering the American dream. Reps will do anything not to get Obama re-elected no matter what the consequences are to the American working public. Dems will not consider the theory of to survive you have to produce as an individual, Govt.has to take care of us. The solution to Gridlock is to vote a straight Dem ticket, ie Pres, House and Senate. Or a straight Rep ticket, ie Pres, House and Senate. We the American People will then be able to point a finger at who did what because they did do something.

With Generous Support From...