8.2 million jobs have been lost in this current recession. With 60% stemming from the small business sector, who is responsible for turning the recession into a recovery: the government or the entrepreneur? When it comes to job creation, fierce debate erupts. The panelists in today’s Jobs, Jobs, Jobs session included Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP and now California Republican Candidate for the U.S. Senate; Ron Bloom, Senior Advisor, US Treasury Dept; Kevin Boyce, Treasurer, State of Ohio; and Ross DeVol, Executive Director, Economic Research, Milken Institute. I also had an opportunity to interview Carly Fiorina one on one to get her input on how this panel can be viewed by business owners.
Vice President Biden’s recent promise that the Obama administration will create 250-500K jobs per month provoked a dispute regarding federal intervention, most specifically over the recent auto industry bailout. While Boyce argued that Ohio can site clear examples of successful turnarounds from government aid (26,000 jobs saved), Fiorina and DeVol agreed that rampant policy uncertainty and massive credit tightening were strangling small business owners and any hope for growth. Fiorina believes that while cities around the country would certainly have been hurt if GM and Chrysler were allowed to fail, this would have been offset by other corporations who would have prospered as a result. When asked if we got a big enough bang from the $787 billion bailout, her response was an unfettered , “No!” Bloom, on the other hand, defended the Obama administration’s actions as a crucial, prioritized first step, creating necessary stability in the financial system and the economy.
Fiorina, who believes that small to medium sized business owners are the true economic engine of our country, reminded the audience that a tax cut is not the same as a tax credit, and heavily promoted allowing business owners to take a payroll tax holiday to encourage job creation. While both sides clearly support job creation, it’s more a matter of what method or which “body”, is most effective in stimulating long term job creation for the country – government bailouts with tax-payer dollars or business incentives for growing the workforce? On a more profound note, Ross DeVol of the Milken Institute reminded everyone that, whoever creates them, “All jobs aren’t created equal…we need job growth in 21st century related industries – not just in government.”