President Barack Obama will address the nation, as well as a joint session of Congress, Thursday night on his plan to put the country's unemployed back to work. (See: Politically, It's D.O.A. But Is Obama's Jobs Plan a Good One?)
Ahead of Obama's symbolic post-Labor Day speech, The Daily Ticker hit the streets of Manhattan to take the pulse of real Americans. The mission at hand: Determine how today's economy is affecting the life of everyday people and discover how they would go about solving today's unemployment crisis if it were up to them.
There were two main points of resounding consensus:
1) The unemployment issue in this country is pervasive. The people we interviewed either know someone who has lost a job, or were actually out of work themselves.
2) There are no easy answers on how to solve today's 9.1% unemployment crisis. But one thing is for certain, compromise and shared sacrifice must be involved in any solution.
Duane Gibson, a lobbyist for multiple industries, as well as the owner of a small manufacturing business, succinctly highlighted the biggest structural problem that has been a hindrance to job growth for the last 30 years.
"From an economic standpoint, we've driven out of the country our productive capacity in manufacturing, in mining, in timber," he says. "We don't do anything here anymore, and as a result of not doing anything here anymore, we don't have all the derivative jobs that flow down from it."
As a small business owner, Gibson's key to job creation is fewer regulations. He tells Aaron Task that the government should just "get out of the way of small business and allow people the freedom to produce economically."
He was not the only small business owner who said that regulation hurts job growth. Bruce Anderson, who owns a small business that develops proprietary systems for the aerospace industry, says that although some regulations are necessary, too many can stifle innovation.
Anderson also supports job-training programs. "I think you need to educate people to adapt to new technologies," he says. "Worker training would be great. It works."
Other ideas tossed around by people we spoke to included investing in infrastructure programs, raising the minimum wage and reducing the U.S. debt load through a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.
But there were also a few less mainstream ideas tossed around as well. Watch the video for those, and then tell us how you'd put people back to work.
- President Barack Obama