News / Economy

Political Differences Cloud Obama Job Proposals

President Barack Obama's speech on the U.S. economy is just the latest in a long history of government proposals to stimulate economies and put people back to work. But with the U.S. economy expanding much slower than expected, and a political climate focused on spending cuts, some analysts doubt the government can improve the nation's economic landscape. Mil Arcega reports.

With nearly 14 million Americans out of work, some question whether President Barack Obama's jobs proposals can have a significant impact on hiring.

The president said earlier this month in Detroit that the outcome depends on Congress.

"There is work to be done and there are workers ready to do it.  Labor's on board, business is on board, we just need Congress to get on board.  Let's put America back to work!," he said.

But Republican leaders voiced objections even before the president's speech.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

"There's a much simpler reason to oppose the president's economic policies that has nothing whatsoever to do with politics -- they don't work," McConnell said.

Some analysts see politics as the problem.   Vincent Reinhart is an economist at the American Enterprise Institute.

"The reason we're so inefficient right now is the political system drove us here; voters are incoherent in terms of what they want from the government for themselves and what they want for everybody else.  And until we come to, figure out some way to rationalize all that, we're not going back to the high growth rates," Reinhart said.    

Others say the nation's obsession with deficit reduction makes matters worse.  Labor economist Gary Burtless says growing the economy will require more spending, not less.

"I do think that the deficit and the rising debt of the United States represents a problem -- it's a long term problem and the solutions they have adopted, I think, are going to make that long term problem worse, because without the economy growing robustly, we won't have a manageable debt problem," Burtless said.

Many analysts say debt reduction will likely take precedence over jobs in the coming months.  A bipartisan committee is now searching for ways to lower the federal deficit by more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.  

With a November deadline fast approaching, Douglas Holtz-Eakin at the American Action Forum says the exercise will test America's political will. "The pressure will be on this committee not so much from a substantive point of view, but from a political point of view to prove that Washington still has some value to this country and that the legislative process still works to some extent.  That, I think, is what makes this difficult," Holtz-Eakin said.

Even if the president gets everything he wants, some estimates suggest unemployment could remain above 8 percent until after 2014. Gary Burtless says the rate might be higher next year.

"I'd love to be wrong, but I don't think I will be, and I think it's more likely to be higher a year from today than it is to be lower a year from today," Burtless said.

Analysts say continuing high unemployment could hurt the president's election chances in 2012.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.