Senate Democratic leadership today unveiled their job creation agenda for the year. In light of this important legislative priority, top economists Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com and Alan Blinder, professor of economics at Princeton University, shared their recommendations for what the upcoming jobs packages should focus on. Transcript below. Why do we need a new jobs agenda?
MARK ZANDI GDP’s up. The value of the things we’re producing is growing but it hasn’t translated to jobs, and there are two key reasons for that in my mind. First is credit, particularly for small business. Let me give you a statistic. Businesses that employ fewer than 100 employees account for nearly half the jobs in our economy. They can’t get loans, and if they can’t get loans they can’t hire, and the job machine can’t get going. Second thing is confidence,ALAN BLINDER Businesses lack the confidence that recovery is here, it’s durable, and sizable.MARK ZANDISo we have to be very aggressive and make absolutely, positively sure that we don’t go back into recession, and that’s where jobs bill comes in because that will be the thing to significantly get this economy going and reduce the odds of backtracking into recession. Because if we, again if we do, this period won’t be a recession, it will be a depression.
What should be the main components of the jobs agenda?MARK ZANDISmall businesses are key to our economy and the job proposal that provides the most bang for the buck is the job tax credit. Give businesses an incentive to go out and hire, and hire quickly.
ALAN BLINDERI think you need to think about things that will act quickly to create jobs because it is a jobs emergency
MARK ZANDIProviding some money for infrastructure spending will create some jobs towards the end of this year and the next.
ALAN BLINDERAnd second after that with direct hiring onto the public payroll.
MARK ZANDITeachers and policeman and then fireman. These are all very important to most communities across the country. And those are really good jobs.
ALAN BLINDERWe should remember what Roosevelt did in the 1930’s. The legacy of that is still with us, some of it. But in any case he put people to work, quickly, in direct public employment.
MARK ZANDIAnd this is the logic behind a jobs bill. Provide enough juice to get this jobs market going again so that we can pivot quickly and really get that budget deficit down.
Will the jobs agenda achieve bipartisan support?ALAN BLINDERa new jobs tax credit I would hope should be able to get bipartisan support if in this environment anything at all can get bipartisan support.
MARK ZANDII think it’s very important that current policy makers remain very aggressive to ensure that this economic recovery evolved in a graceful way to a self-sustaining economic expansion. The coast is not clear. We need policymakers to do more.What’s next for our economy?
ALAN BLINDERwhen you’re near the bottom of a recession everything looks bleak. And I think what people have to do is try to look at history and we always snap back. I believe we always will snap back. We will snap back from this one.
What we need to do is provide them with a little bit of support, a little bit of incentive, and a light switch will go on and this economy will get going again. And we’ll go from an economy that’s not creating any jobs to an economy that’s creating an immense amount of jobs.