September 07, 2011

NYT: What Obama "should" say on jobs

The Old Gray Lady got four guest columnists to talk about what President Obama should say on jobs Thursday.

Barry Bluestone offers an interesting conservative-liberal mix, as he calls it: a two-year freeze on federal wages, combined with a windfall profits tax on companies making more than $1 million in profit, with said moneys to help state and local governments. Interesting and different, but still relatively small scale; I'll give it a B-minus.

Lawrence Katz calls for better, and more, re-education and job training, much more stimulus spending, and more flexibility with unemployment benefits to allow people to go down to part time rather than be laid off. Vey solid; not necessarily a lot new, but all good stuff. B-plus.

William Walker is all over the place. His ideas are a mix of good, bad and ugly, and many aren't really related to jobs creation. I'd be OK, at least, with reducing Sarbanes-Oxley's burden on smaller businesses if we reinstated Glass-Steagall. If Walker stopped there, I'd give him an A, even if this idea has nothing to do about jobs creation. Means-test Social Security? Sure.

Identify 100 top infrastructure projects and fund the hell out of them? Definitely good, definitely jobs-related.

But, then, he jumps the shark. Radical cuts in Medicare, because Americans are fat, lazy and making themselves unhealthy? So, with that, he gets a C-minus.

John B. Taylor? Nothing but deficit hawking. F.

I'd say Bluestone has the right end outcome, however we get the money. Katz is right on job retraining, and he should push this further, telling Obama to focus on this rather than getting more people into college. Walker? I'll take about everything on his list except the Medicare cuts and his attitude. Promise tea partiers you'll name those infrastructure projects after them and they might just sign on.

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