Respectfully Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger
We have heard both sides of the aisle claim that they have the next big idea to bring jobs back to Main Street. Recently President Obama, according to an article from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, has claimed that he will be submitting a Jobs Bill to Congress when they return from their 5 week summer hiatus. “He even says he’ll be proposing a jobs bill in September – and if Republicans don’t go along he’ll fight for it through Election Day (or beyond). That’s a start. But read the small print and all he’s talked about so far is extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits (good, but small potatoes), ratifying the Columbia and South Korea free trade agreements (not necessarily a job-creating move), and creating an infrastructure bank. An infrastructure bank might be helpful, depending on its size. Which is the real question hovering over the entire putative jobs bill – its size. Some of the President’s political advisors have been pushing for small-bore initiatives that they believe might have a chance of getting through the Republican just-say-no House. They also figure policy miniatures won’t give aspiring GOP candidates more ammunition to tar Obama as a big-government liberal.
But the President is sounding as if he’s rejected their advice. That’s good policy and good politics.Good policy because any jobs bill has to be big enough to give the economy the boost it needs to get out of the gravitational pull of the Great Recession.” Truthout According to Reich and other economists, the legislation needs to be big and bold. Secretary Reich goes even further and presents a list of ten ideas he would like to see in any job legislation.
“What would a bold jobs bill look like? Here are the ten components I’d recommend (apologies to those of you who have read some of these before): 1. Exempt first $20K of income from payroll taxes for two years. Make up shortfall by raising ceiling on income subject to payroll taxes.
2. Recreate the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps to put long-term unemployed directly to work.
3. Create an infrastructure bank authorized to borrow $300 billion a year to repair and upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, school buildings, and water and sewer systems.
4. Amend bankruptcy laws to allow distressed homeowners to declare bankruptcy on their primary residence, so they can reorganize their mortgage loans.
5. Allow distressed homeowners to sell a portion of their mortgages to the FHA, which would take a proportionate share of any upside gains when the homes are sold.
6. Provide tax incentive to employers who create net new jobs ($2,500 deduction for every net new job created).
7. Make low-interest loans to cash-starved states and cities, so they don’t have to lay off teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and reduce other critical public services.
8. Provide partial unemployment benefits to people who have lost part-time jobs.
9. Enlarge and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit – a wage subsidy for low-wage work.
10. Impose a “severance fee” on any large business that lays off an American worker and outsources the job abroad.” Truthout
While I may agree with some of Sec. Reich’s suggestions, there are others that I don’t like. For example, I like number 10 on his list. I think the idea of the “severance fee” would act as an inducement to big companies to keep jobs here in the States. I don’t like the idea of an infrastructure “bank” because I would be afraid that some ex-Goldman Sachs big shot would be named to run it and I think we know who that would benefit!
However, since we have so many good minds here on Professor Turley’s blog, I am confident that together We can come up with ideas to jump-start the job creation process that will compliment the ideas already mentioned or actually replace those ideas. My big idea would be to challenge the corporations of America to create jobs through innovation and new technologies and provide the funds to develop the best of those innovations as quickly as possible through a national competition that would be open to corporations and individuals alike. The winning entry would have to be one that would produce significant, good paying jobs and would have to be designed and manufactured here in the United States with 85% of the materials also obtained or produced here in the United States.
So it is time to get to work and let us know what you think of these suggested ideas from Robert Reich, but more importantly, let us have your idea(s) and why it would work. Don’t be afraid to think big. We don’t have the political restraints here that Washington has so there is no excuse not to be bold in your ideas. Who knows, maybe President Obama and Speaker Boehner are secret readers of the Turley Blog and your ideas just might catch their eye!
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger