Former President Bill Clinton described 14 ways to create jobs in a June 2011 Newsweek article. Here's a summary of the most important points, with links to articles that give you more background information. Whether you think these ideas would work or not, it's what Congress and the President should be discussing. Job creation is needed to put 14 million Americans back to work, creating the demand for goods and services needed to get the economy growing faster.
Now, if President Clinton would only come up with 14 ways to get the housing market back on its feet!
1. Streamline Federal Approval Process
Obama's Economic Stimulus Plan allocated $275 billion to save or create between 600,000 - 2.3 million jobs. These contracts were awarded to "shovel ready" projects that were already approved and ready to begin construction. Clinton argues that the approval process for any project that creates jobs and doesn't harm the environment should be sped up.
2. Cash Incentive for New Jobs
New business start-ups need cash, which is why tax cuts don't help them. Since small businesses create 65% of all new jobs, they are critical in reducing unemployment. The Economic Stimulus Plan gave cash incentives in lieu of tax credits to new businesses for every new employee hired, and every green job created. This was discontinued when the Bush tax cuts were extended in 2010. It should be reinstated. Why? The incentive increased the U.S. market share for hybrid car batteries from 2% to 20%. It works.
3. Pay Businesses to Train Workers to Fill Vacancies
There are 3 million job vacancies because businesses can't find workers who have the skills to fill them. Most unemployed people don't have the money to get training for today's jobs.The Federal government could pay the businesses to train the workers to fill those specific jobs. Businesses don't have to pay Social Security or benefits until the worker is trained and hired. This would fill those jobs faster, increase the competitiveness of the U.S. by updating workers with needed skills.
4. Retrofit Buildings to Be More Energy Efficient
The Federal government could reward companies or utilities to train workers to retrofit buildings to increase energy efficiency. This would create jobs, train workers with needed skills, and decrease reliance on foreign oil. In addition, it would redirect savings toward demand-producing goods and services. Clinton also suggests the U.S. ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates reduction in greenhouse gases. Countries that ratified it are outperforming the U.S. economically.
5. Paint Black Roofs White
6. Federal Loan Guarantees for Bank Lending
Clinton calls this the "Just Say Yes" program. He suggests setting aside $15 billion of the TARP funds to guarantee loans made by banks for energy retrofits. Banks are sitting on $2 trillion in funds they are afraid to lend out. A loan guarantee program, like the SBA loans but more conservative, might get this money back in circulation. Loan guarantees of $15 billion could encourage $150 billion in loans, and create 1 million jobs.
7. The Other 8 Proposals
Many of Clinton's other eight points were less specific. They included reviewing with the states more ideas on what they could do to encourage green jobs. Some points merely gave his opinion, such as how the Federal debt means the U.S. can no longer enforce trade agreeements with countries that we owe money to. He also explains why it seemed like TARP didn't work when it really did. To read the entire article, see "It's Still the Economy, Stupid," June 2011, Newsweek.