Ross Eisenbrey, Lawrence Mishel, Josh Bivens and Andrew Fieldhouse present a list of proposals that would create a significant number of jobs in a new Economic Policy Institute briefing paper called Putting America back to work. These are solid proposals that should to be given serious consideration. They would be in any other year. Unfortunately, Republicans are devoted to doing everything they can to NOT get Americans back to work since they believe that high unemployment is a ticket for Republican control of Congress and the White House in 2012.
Even though Republicans will do everything they can to keep proposals such as the following from being implemented, I hope that Obama will propose at least some of these ideas next week when he delivers his jobs speech and demand that Republicans publicly explain their opposition.
- Temporarily increase disposable income for low- and middle-income consumers by renewing the payroll tax cut or replacing it with a refundable tax rebate, to create roughly 1 million jobs.
- Renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, increasing employment by528,000 jobs.
- Pass President Obama’s budget request for the Surface Transportation Act, increasing employment by an average of 117,000 jobs annually over the next three years, or 350,000 jobs total, with larger job gains in later years.
- Restore the increased federal Medicaid matching rate, easing state-level budget cuts and tax increases, to create or save 444,000 jobs or more in one year.
- Enact a direct job creation program to put up to 2.2 million people to work over the next two years repairing schools, rebuilding communities, improving national parks, and rehiring police officers, firefighters, and teachers.
- Invest $200 billion in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, which could increase employment by 2.1 million jobs.
- Enact a job creation tax credit for firms that add employees, increase hours, or raise wages for rank-and-file workers, which could create 2.4 million jobs over the next two years if designed properly.
- Implement a federally subsidized work-sharing program, which could employ 1 million more people over the next year.
- Elicit further monetary support from the Federal Reserve, which could resume large-scale asset purchases and announce a higher inflation target, increasing employment by 2 to 3 million jobs.
- End currency manipulation by countries that trade with the United States, which could increase employment by up to 2.25 million jobs.
- Encourage widespread mortgage refinancing to reduce mortgage payments and keep people in their homes, which could increase employment by 62,000 to 248,000 jobs.