News Columns & Blogs

Pro-con on federal jobs program

Of course we need a federal jobs program to get us out of the Great Recession. The unemployment rate isn't only 10 percent. Counting those working part time for economic reasons and "discouraged workers," it was 17.2 percent in November, nearly 1 in 5 workers. There are very real policy proposals out there to deal with the realities of America's unemployed. Extend the lifeline of supplemental unemployment benefits, food assistance and COBRA health care benefits; put more money into infrastructure; allocate more aid to state and local governments to ensure delivery of vital services; and put Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to work in local communities by funding small- and-medium-sized community banks. Only the government can act in recessionary times like these. — Michael J. Wilson, national director at Americans for Democratic Action, and Paul B. Manchester, economist

Here are a few no-brainers for any government official who is serious about job creation, none of which require an expensive government jobs program: Permanently reduce top tax rates on individuals, small businesses and corporations by 10 percentage points; reduce the individual income tax rates to three levels no higher than 10, 15 and 25 percent; and repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. Unleashing domestic energy production through environmentally safe oil drilling would create jobs directly and indirectly, the latter by reducing business energy costs, leaving more capital for expansion and hiring. Similarly, speeding up the permitting process for the building of new nuclear power plants would create jobs and emissions-free energy while contributing to energy independence. Say "no" to calls for a second "stimulus." — Deneen Borelli, National Center for Public Policy Research