Obama vs. GOP: Who Has the Better Job Policy?

Payscale

State of the Union speeches provide a chance for the president to look forward. Given the great recession of the last two years, President Obama had more-than-average reasons to focus his speech squarely on the future, particularly in the area of jobs creation.

With unemployment still stubbornly above 9 percent, the big question for most Americans is, "Where are the jobs? Does President Obama or the GOP have the best plan for getting America back to work?"

Listening to the State of the Union speech and the Republican response, you couldn't have asked for a more clear difference in policy, at least when it comes to jobs.

President Obama's key program for growing well-paid jobs is based on federal investments in biomedical research, information technology and clean energy research. The plan seems to be, "if we invent it, the jobs will come." Obama said he believes this is "an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless new jobs for our people."

How good are biotech, IT and green jobs? The first two sectors generally pay above average wages, and clean energy is likely to be similar. Jobs like biotech quality control analyst ($53,000/year), IT project manager ($81,800/year), and solar energy system installer ($39,300) are typical and pay solidly middle class wages.

Obama vs. GOP
Word Count
  • Obama mentioned "job/jobs" a total of 31 times in his address and "work" a total of 35 times.
  • In contrast, Rep. Paul Ryan mentioned "job/jobs" a total of five times and "work" a total of five times.

However, the reason these industries pay well is that they demand above-average skills. Most of the jobs require strong analytical thinking and math skills, and often a college degree or higher.

That leads us to Obama's second prong in his plan for more jobs: improve our education system. This can be seen as an investment in the people. This is clearly a longer term plan than the industry investments, but is intended to make sure America has the workers to fill these better jobs.

Finally, Obama proposed investments in rebuilding infrastructure like road, rails and communications. The idea here is that, just as the railroad 100 years ago allowed steel to be made in Pittsburgh and delivered anywhere in the country, by improving transportation and communication, new businesses can be created anywhere and yet sell to the world.

All of these investments can also be called what they are: federal spending programs that have to be paid for with either taxes, borrowing, or cuts in other programs. This was the crux of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican response to the State of the Union Address.

The Republican plan is simpler: shrink government, reduce taxes, and the people of the United States, through private enterprise, will figure out where it is best to spend money to grow the economy and create jobs.

Ryan's key point is that private enterprise is responsible for the vast majority of the U.S. economic activity. Of the roughly $14 trillion in production that happens in the country annually (about $45,000 a year for every man, woman and child), all discretionary federal spending outside defense represents only a little over 2 percent of that number.

Who has the better job policy?
Obama1405 (35.9%)
GOP2095 (53.6%)
Neither285 (7.3%)
I don't know124 (3.2%)

The Republicans would rather see all efforts go to reining in the whole federal budget, which totals more than 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The Republicans fear that continued deficit spending will cause either inflation, drive up the cost of borrowing, or require much higher taxes -- all of which will stifle the growth of the economy and the creation of jobs. President Obama also talked about getting spending under control, but the fact that it was his last, and not first, item is telling.

Obama's plan of targeted investments aligns with a common business rule of thumb of $1 investment for research and $10 for development leads to $100 in sales. The Republicans are also right: If the debt gets too large, simply paying the interest will become a burden on the economy.

Which is the better plan for jobs? If we could predict that with certainty, we wouldn't need politicians.

Next: 10 Free Government Resources for the Unemployed



Source: All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with five to eight years of experience and include any bonuses, commission, or profit sharing.



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RICHARD RENO

26th amendment to the constitution.1 TERM LIMITS,12 YEARS SERVICE,TWO 6 YR SNEATE TERMS,SIX TWO YEAR HOUSE TERMS,2 NO TENURE/NO PENSION 3CONGRESS(PAST AND FUTURE)PARTICIPATES IN SOCIAL SECURITY. 4 CONGRESS CAN PURCHASE THEIR OWN RETIREMENT PLAN JUST AS ALL AMERICANS DO.5CONGRESS LOSES THEIR CURRENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND PARTICIPATES IN THE SAME HEALTH CARE AS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.6. CONGRESS WILL NO LONGER VOTE THEMSELES A PAY RAISE. CONGRESS PAY WILL RISE BY THE LOWER OF CPI OR 3%. 7 CONGRESS MUST EQUALLY ABIDE BY ALL LAWS THEY IMPOSE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.8 ALL CONTRACTS WITH PAST AND PRESENT CONGRRESSMEN ARE VOID EFFECTIVE 1/1/11

January 27 2011 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Damon

Why would anybody put the least bit of hope in what he says. Same deal as the election. Tell the dumbasses what they want to hear and do what you want. I cannot believe anybody would think He has changed. If people bite on this one they deserve what they get.

January 27 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
algonquin j. calhoun

millions of jobs could be created practically overnight with the elimination of one: barack obama's.

January 26 2011 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
darrelldixon

i..for..one..believe..if..your..not..falling..down..your..not..trying..something..new...but..we..have..tried..the..training..wage..road...and..the..arm..balloon..road..where..you..get..a..promotion..with..years..of..service..except..their..IS..NO..LOYALTY..IN..CORPORATE..AMERICA..i..hope..we..are..not..going..down..a..dead..end..street..i"m..glad..benarke..has..a..mapsco

January 26 2011 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big John

Lets see do I want a job Now or maybe in 10 years.

January 26 2011 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
OINKJOHNSON2

It all seems so simple to me--to "create" jobs, simply ban all automation. Instead of using massive trucks, ulldozers, steam-shovels, robots, numerical-control milling machines, etc., just MANDATE that only men (and maybe a few women) would have to work with only ordinary hand tools. Do you realize how many people it took to build the pyramids?
On a more serious note, the average person does not realize how many people are employed by government. I spent most of my working career as an accountant and contract administrator for a 3rd level government electro-mechanical contractors. An example of the situation: despite NASA's huge budget, the Navy also has a Space Program, housed at NRL (just across the river from downtown D.C.) They would typically issue a contract to Bendix Field Engineering, which was mandated to make maximum use of minority and woman-owned small businesses. Bendix would, in turn, issue sub-contracts to companies (such as the one for which I worked) to do much of the actual work. Of course, all along the line, there was the requirement for contract administrators, accountants, auditors, etc. A similar situation exists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. and the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, MD. I am sure the same situation exists with the soft sciences (NIH for medical research, etc.) Remember VP Gore's mission to shrink government employment? This is how he did it--just hire contractors and sub-contractors to do the work instead of doing it directly on the government rolls.
Seems to me we are doomed by our own system! To be more competitive, one has to innovate and automate, which makes a given operation less labor-intensive. Thus, fewer jobs. Conversely, as I began this post, the less efficient the operation, the more labor-intensive. So, we can not win.

January 26 2011 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Welch

I would support tax breaks for companies that keep jobs in the States only or we will continue to bleed jobs regardless. However, you could allow companies to pay no taxes at all but they can still pay someone less in China to make anything. We need better incentives or penalties. I'm not sure which would work better.

January 26 2011 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Seymour

The Republicans don't have a jobs policy, because they let their rich corporate buddies ship all the American jobs overseas. It's as plain as the nose on your face: Boehner and his gang of corporate thugs could care less about jobs. To them, it's just a word to get the poor slob Republican voters on their side. What a joke!

January 26 2011 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
WashyWizard84

Obama is no centrist----beware of charaltens

January 26 2011 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
johnsonbrown7777

Lets pray that the congress can stop all Obama's wasteful spending.

January 26 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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