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Obama Hears Ideas for Job Creation at Summit

BY Carolyn O'Hara  December 3, 2009 at 11:30 AM EST

U.S. veterans and family members attend a job fair in New York City; Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Barack Obama will hear a host of ideas on how to jumpstart job creation at a ‘jobs summit’ Thursday at the White House, from giving businesses tax cuts for new hires to investing in infrastructure to offering more assistance to cash-strapped states. On the eve of the latest monthly unemployment report, which hit a 26-year high in October at 10.2 percent, the president has invited about 130 experts to help solve what the administration calls the nation’s top priority.

Attendees gathered at the summit include the executives of Google, FedEx, and Comcast, union leaders, small business owners, economists, and U.S. mayors. They will debate their approaches to solving jobslessness, including a few that will encourage the administration to increase spending in the short term, either indirectly through tax cuts or directly through sponsored jobs programs, to bring the unemployment level down.

But spending to spur job creation could compete with the White House’s concern about high budget deficits. Instead, the administration is reportedly seeking high-impact solutions that involve partnerships with the private sector and relatively small investment from the government.

The NewsHour asked several experts, those attending and not attending Thursday’s summit, for their thoughts on the best approach to creating new jobs.

Anna Burger

Chair, Change to Win (a labor federation of six unions), attending Thursday’s summit

“We actually don’t think tax incentives for creating new jobs has actually historically worked. So we don’t think that’s necessarily a good idea. … There should be a jobs program, there should a green energy program, there should be an infrastructure program, and we should make sure that we tax Wall Street and have them help pay to get America working again.”

Listen to more of Burger’s analysis:

 

William Dunkelberg

Chief Economist, National Federation of Independent Business, not attending Thursday’s summit

“The most important problem small business owners face today is no customers. So any kind of a jobs bill really has to stimulate consumer spending. … Tax cuts are probably the best way, the most effective way to put money in the pockets of consumers.”

Listen to more of Dunkelberg’s analysis:

 

Robert Greenstein

Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, attending Thursday’s summit

“The two most important things to do are to continue the additional weeks of unemployment insurance…If we have millions of unemployed workers who suddenly have a lot less income, that means a lot less consumer expenditure in the economy, and that will be very bad for jobs. Another key issue relates to state and local government…. If you get budget cuts and tax increases at the state level of anything close to [the] magnitude [we estimate due to budget shortfalls], that will be a big job killer.”

Listen to more of Greenstein’s analysis: