House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced a series of steps aimed at increasing economic activity and creating jobs across the country. In a memo to House Republicans Cantor, R-VA, listed specific job killing regulations he wanted to reexamine and new proposals for job creation measures. The memo lists the date each measure is scheduled to be taken up by the House and how each proposal is expected to set the conditions for increased job growth.
In contrast President Obama had announced from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard a few weeks ago that he would be announcing his job’s plan shortly after he returned to D.C. Today the White House announced that the President would be announcing his plan for jobs at a joint session of Congress. Congressional leaders have indicated it is too late to put together a joint session of Congress by Sept 7th, the date requested by the President.
Not coincidentally, the date chosen by Mr. Obama to lay out his plan for job creation is the same day the previously scheduled Republican Presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan library will air live on NBC. Opponants said Mr. Obama is seeking to upstage his Republican opposition and draw attention away from his potential adversaries ahead of the 2012 election. It is expected Mr. Obama’s plan will include make work programs and more stimulus spending. Mr. Obama has spent weeks telling us that his plan for job creation will be forthcoming. Republicans seem to have gotten tired of waiting and have already provided specific proposals through Mr. Cantor’s memo. We will not know for certain what will be in the President’s plan but perhaps we will have an opportunity to compare two competing visions for the country.
The specifics of the Republican job creation proposals stem from a belief that Government regulations are strangling economic activity. By targeting rule-making activity by various Government agencies Republicans are essentially saying that certain regulations impose costs and burdens on business that are not justified by the return. Put another way, Republicans feel the costs of the regulations are not justified by negligible benefits. Given the choice, we should focus on creating an environment more conducive to productivity and job growth by removing roadblocks from economic activity. Obama’s proposals, by contrast, look to be based in a belief that increased government spending on “shovel ready” projects are needed to get the economy moving and put money in the hands of consumers.
I suspect there will be some proposals, such as changes to patent laws, the both parties will support as part of their respective plans. Such proposals will likely be adopted quickly. Obama himself has even recently indicated openness to reviewing regulations that may do more harm than good. That said, there will be much debate over proposals from Obama and the Republicans because most of their ideas are rooted in fundamentally different views about how our economy works and the best way to maintain growth. Republicans want to simplify the tax code and place economic growth over other considerations, Obama wants to spend money and “stimulate” the economy. Obama believes in Keynesian economic principles and government interventions, Republicans believe government is getting in the way and preventing the economy from taking off. The future of our country may depend on whose vision is right and whether they can convince the American people.