From The Washington Post, “Jobs summit underscores dilemma“:
Obama says he does not have the money for the plan many of his liberal supporters say packs the biggest employment punch — direct federal investment in job creation. Instead, he came close to embracing a to-do list for the private sector that sounded rather familiar: weatherization, small-business incentives, regulatory and other help for exporters, and tax credits for employers who hire new workers.
Obama said the proposals could create jobs immediately, while providing long-term benefit at a relatively small expense to the federal government. “Overall, we generated a lot of important ideas,” he said. “Some of them, I think, can translate immediately into administration plans and, potentially, legislation.”
Regulatory and other help for exporters? U.S. Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg co-chaired one of the break-out sessions, “Expanding Job Opportunities for America’s Workers Through Exports,” and the NAM believes the Eximbank is an important, effective supporter of private-sector exporters. Indeed, the head of one company that works effectively with the Eximbank is quoted in the Post story. Air Tractor of Olney, Texas, a manufacturer of ag planes (for purposes like spraying and seeding), has been featured as an Eximbank success story as it reaches into South American markets. (PPT slide from Eximbank’s 2009 conference.)
David Ickert, a senior executive of Air Tractor, a Texas firm that manufactures planes used in agriculture and fire suppression, said he would like to see the administration do more to free up financing for export-oriented firms.
“Exporting is one of the areas that has a lot more potential,” he said. “It can create jobs and does not cost a lot of money to fund. There just has not been enough attention paid to it from a policy standpoint.
The lack of attention — or rather, effort — has also been a problem with the three free trade agreements still pending which, if enacted, would quickly lower trade barriers to U.S. exporters. The White House should lead its export-related jobs creation by demanding Congressional approval of the FTAs with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
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