Democrats are counting heavily on President Obama's upcoming Labor Day job creation speech to allay the fears of the stock market, the international investor community and the American people. Much like Waiting for Godot, there's been a lot of hype and chatter but very little action.
In fact, considering Obama has no street creds in the area of job creation, and considering few of his advisors have ever created jobs, and considering that two of the most powerful Democrats in the House and the Senate represent the two states with the nation's highest unemployment, it's hard to imagine the president will have an innovative, cohesive or potentially effective job creation plan to roll out in his speech.
Here are five ideas which Obama could announce which could help create jobs and improve the economy. Of course, these ideas are bold -- and Obama is not comfortable with taking bold action --he prefers armchair rhetoric. These ideas also very much go against a Keynesian economic model-- and Obama might not be comfortable with that either. But, then again, since thirty months of Keynesian economic modeling have failed to yield any improvement in the economy, perhaps Obama might consider abandoning the madness and moving over to the free market capitalism team.
1. Create a pro-business environment that encourages investment and growth in areas currently receiving federal subsidies for disaster relief. Creating a tax free zone for five years in Louisiana or Mississippi, areas that still have not recovered economically from Hurricane Katrina, would encourage businesses to relocate to these areas. This move would (a) keep investment dollars in the U.S. (b) create new jobs and hiring opportunities in currently low employment areas (c) eliminate the need for additional federal subsidies in these areas (d) indirectly affect and improve the education systems in these areas as a result of more residents, more jobs and more income.
2. Announce "drill, baby, drill" is back on track, and mean it. Wildcatters and small rig entrepreneurs would rejoice. In addition to creating jobs in states all around the U.S., the announcement would also be an effective way to scare the #@!?# out of the Middle East oil community and would, most likely, result in an immediate lowering in the cost per barrel of oil. Our nation has lost too much credibility and squandered too much American wealth pursuing any number of dubious energy policies. Time to get serious and develop our own resources.
3. Extend payroll tax cuts. Increasing the amount of retained earnings will be good for the economy, but accompany the payroll tax cuts with serious federal budget cuts to an entitlement program such as unemployment by reducing the amount of time an individual can collect unemployment. After all, the president is supposed to be incentivizing Americans to create jobs, not encouraging them to stay home. Paying Americans not to work for 99 weeks is insane and fiscally ruinous.
4. Extend offers of immediate American citizenship to any student earning an advanced degree in science, math, or technology. Currently, the U.S. subsidizes, in the name of diversity, the education of tens of thousands of international students. After they have received the benefit of an excellent (and oftentimes free) American education, for their B.S., M.S. and Ph.D., our broken immigration system demands that they return to their own countries, and does not allow them to stay in America. Unions may be fearful of granting qualified foreigners green cards and work permits, but these protectionist moves are killing our economy. We need more scientists and engineers to power our economy, and we would be wise to attract the world’s most accomplished scientists and engineers to live, work, and prosper in the US. We have seen, through the example of individuals such as Steve Jobs, the ability of one individual, with solid technical credentials, to create millions of jobs (excuse the pun) and change the lives of billions. Of course, while we offer green cards and citizenship to scientists and engineers, no such offer should be made to the many other thousands of international students earning degrees in political science, law, comparative studies. We are all full up.
5. Treat our country like the business it is, and get advice from those who have proven they can walk the walk. The six states in the U.S. with the greatest job creation and the lowest unemployment-- despite the economic downturn--deserve some credit. Ask the governors of Texas, Utah, Vermont, VA, Wisconsin and Wyoming to come to the White House--IMMEDIATELY-- and promise to listen and consider their advice on job creation. In this way, President Obama might learn the high costs of the excessive regulations spewing from Washington, and gain some understanding of just how detrimental many of the Obama Administration’s decisions have been in creating jobs.
Hope springs eternal, and even though President Obama has not shown any ability to learn from his past mistakes we can still dream. Obama has a splendid opportunity to engage the American people, surprise his critics, and to assure the world. Opportunities such as these don't come along every day--the real question is: will Obama seize the opportunity to lead or will he continue to be the grey flannel man in the teleprompted suit?