Frederick Smith Chairman, CEO, FedEx
I urged the President to accelerate the expensing of capital investment; reduce the corporate income tax rate; and champion free trade. As detailed by former Treasury officials Ernie Christian and Gary Robbins, every dollar of tax cuts for expensing adds about nine dollars of GDP growth. Allowing companies to expense more of their capital outlay is an inexpensive way to create jobs, because the only cost to the government is the time value of money. By cutting the corporate income tax rate, which at 35% is the second highest behind Japan, U.S. companies will have more money to invest in job creation. The President should also move forward with pending trade agreements with Columbia, Peru and the Republic of Korea—trade-related jobs account for one in five American jobs and they tend to be higher paying than other positions.
Robert Reich Professor, UC-Berkeley; former U.S. Secretary of Labor
I urged that the Administration and Congress put first priority on helping states and cities, which are now undertaking, in effect, an anti-stimulus program totaling $350 billion over this year and next.
Arpana Mathur Economist, American Enterprise Institute
My suggestion was for reducing corporate tax rate. A lot of research the American Enterprise Institute has done looks at how high corporate tax rates effects investment. If you look at where U.S. stands, it has the highest corporate tax rate after Japan. If you lowered the rate, you would see a big boost in investment. [Our research] also showed the effects of corporate tax on workers. That single action would achieve multiple objectives.
James P. Hoffa General President, Teamsters
Think “America first” when it comes to trade policy. If this government wants to do something, enforce the trade laws if we have them.
Diana Aviv CEO, Independent Sector
The nonprofit community employs nearly 10 percent of America’s workforce and that we are also largely small employers: roughly 80 percent of nonprofits employ fewer than 100 people, and more than half have fewer than ten employees. Nonprofits have no natural home in the executive branch and are largely unable to access the special benefits provided to companies through the Small Business Administration, including loans, mentoring programs, and technical assistance. As a result, the administration has a particular responsibility to remember always that nonprofits likely would need help through different methods from small business.
Robert Kuttner Co-founder of the American Prospect
Because we’re stuck in this very high unemployment trap where the banks are nominally back to health but they’re not extending credit to the people who need it and the mortgage situation isn’t being solved and jobs aren’t being created you need more public spending in the short run that gets us out of debt. To try to reduce the deficit now would be crazy. The general feeling in the room was certainly we need to do more and I think he personally gets the fact that you have to go deeper into deficit spending.
Edward Wytkind President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
- The need to pass updates to the nation’s overdue surface and aviation legislation, which are essentially mini stimulus bills that await action by Congress.
- The billions in ready to go, so-called shovel ready, initiatives in all the transport modes: aviation, mass transit, highways and bridges, Amtrak and other passenger and freight rail and ports and maritime.
- Amtrak, which has yet to ever receive full funding as authorized by Congress, as a worthy way to boost jobs through new investments.
Angela Glover Blackwell Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
I told the president the same thing I've told anyone who would listen since this recession began—we have to target our help to those who have been hit first and worst. Poor people and communities of color have been devastated by this downturn. Of course, those communities were living in quiet recessions long before Wall Street tanked.
When President Obama came into my infrastructure break-out session, I told him we need an economy that is running at maximum speed—one that is benefitting from the talents, ideas and innovations of all its people. That's why we need short- and long-term investments now. We must get people back to work stringing broadband lines to poor communities, improving and expanding public transit, and giving the homes of low-income people the environmental retrofitting they need. For the future, we need investments in community colleges and job training programs, to get people ready for the jobs of tomorrow. We cannot merely try to recapture the stilted, inequitable, broken economy we left behind.
Jamie Merisotis CEO, Lumina Foundation
The president asked for ideas that would be immediately implementable. I proposed a specific idea that combines education and job training. The idea is an accelerated program to receive an associates degree in 10 months. You would train very quickly and reenter the workforce in a rapid way, but you’re paid a stipend. You have a job, your job is getting a high profile education in areas where there’s a lot of potential. It wouldn’t be for general programs. We’re currently piloting this in a couple places already. We estimate that we could get 100,000 people trained for a billion and a half dollars, a relatively low cost for high impact effort. It’s not nearly as expensive as other ideas proposed, but we’ll see whether this is something they can advance in the near term.
Ted Daywalt President, VetJobs.com
The government needs to cut back on high taxes and on the onerous requirements being dumped on small businesses by the Department of Labor and others. I think one of biggest complaints of small business is access to capital.
I went [to the jobs summit] with high hopes and left feeling very depressed. I fear we will be in this recession for some time to come.
Dean Baker Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
I was at the summit on the topic of workplace training. I think we could use some sort of work share task credit like Germany. Germany has been able to keep unemployment from rising during the recession by essentially giving tax credits to shorten work time rather than lay workers off. I think that’s a great model for us to try here. I should point out, about 2 million people lose their job every month and 2 million quit. Even though 11,000 were lost in November, that’s a net number. We lost a lot of jobs and created a lot.
I was impressed with President Obama’s commitment. He’s got a tough road politically and economically.
Christianna Connell President, future-ink
I was in line with the jobs creation tax credits group. There’ve been a lot of people talking about those. I liked that topic because it doesn’t just address businesses that are floundering, but also businesses that are doing well. It looks like the government is leaning more towards a 5% or 10% credit. A lot of the businesses want more, but even a 10% would be enough to hire an additional person.
The other topic was health insurance premiums. There’s been a lot of talk about getting everybody covered by health insurance, but premiums going up 10%, 15% or 20% per year. I wanted to talk about ideas to stop premiums from going up so much.
I had some doubts going into it, but I think they were really listening. It really seemed like they were trying to get everybody’s ideas. There was a brainstorming feeling. I was pleasantly surprised by how serious everybody was taking it and the wide variety of people there.
Lynn Jurich President and Co-Founder, SunRun
I asked the administration for help to make certain parts of residential solar run more smoothly. We have a good partnership going with solar. The federal government has provided homeowners with a tax credit that helps to eliminate any long-term costs of switching to clean electricity. SunRun and other private companies have made solar affordable to homeowners today, high quality, and easy to own. The solar industry will contribute thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy in 2010.
However, it’s starting to take longer for solar to be installed on rooftops because cities and counties don’t have the budget to fully staff their permitting departments to keep up with demand. That means solar installers can’t hire new crews because they aren’t able to install quickly enough to support new employees. By improving permitting, we could keep up with demand and create hundreds of high quality local jobs for engineers, construction workers, electricians and salespeople. One of my recommendations to President Obama was that he provide grants to staff up permitting offices and those extra jobs will follow.
Anna Burger Chair, Change to Win
- Expand the safety net for the unemployed with increased unemployment insurance and more work sharing programs.
- Use TARP funds to provide small businesses with credit.
- Provide fiscal relief to states and local governments to save an anticipated 900,000 jobs.
- Create a public jobs program that funnels the unemployed to fast growing areas such as at-home health care and child care.
- Leverage public dollars with private investment through a Green Bank to promote energy-efficiency and renewables.
- Expand the home retrofitting programs begun under the Recovery Act, which will create jobs in construction and related industries.
- Invest in aging infrastructure by rebuilding schools, roads and bridges. Create an Infrastructure bank to foster public/private partnerships.
- The passage of health care reform will create more than a million new jobs in the health and related industries.
- Pass the Employee Free Choice Act to protect workers’ freedom to form unions.
- Offer more training program so that workers can better compete for jobs.