Opinion

Chrystia Freeland

The jobs council weighs in

Peter Rudegeair
Jun 29, 2011 20:52 UTC

“Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! What can we do?” was the title of a panel Chrystia moderated at the New York Forum last week with members of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  The Council has been tasked with jump-starting the U.S. labor market and recommending changes to the nation’s education and training initiatives, and each of the panelists touched on a different aspect of the Council’s findings.

Laura Tyson, a former chief economic adviser to President Clinton and an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, stressed that infrastructure projects were the low-hanging fruit of job creation.  She argued that $1 billion in infrastructure investment could create between 11,000 and 30,000 jobs.  Many infrastructure projects have been approved and are shovel-ready — the only thing that’s holding them up is the Department of Transportation’s lengthy permitting process, Tyson noted.

Valerie Jarrett, a Senior Advisor to President Obama, added that in order to offset the rise in structural unemployment, investments in education and worker placement must be made sooner rather than later:

The President is convinced that if we’re going to win the future, we have to continue to invest in education; we have to invest in innovation; and we have to re-build and build in order for us to be competitive…  We also want to make sure that the companies who are here have the resources they need to compete globally, and that means having a trained workforce.  That means having a workforce that’s trained for the marketplace of tomorrow, not the marketplace of yesterday, and so focusing on science and technology and engineering and math and partnering with our community colleges and working with the private sector so they actually design the curriculum and offer a job when you complete a program.  So for the people who are currently unemployed, let’s get them into those programs, so when the opportunities arise because demand does increase there is actually a job waiting for you on the other end.

AOL co-founder Steve Case emphasized entrepreneurship in his remarks.  Case brought up a study from the Kauffman Foundation that found that high-growth, entrepreneurial companies created 40 million jobs in the past 25 years — that’s roughly all the net job growth the U.S. saw during that period.  Nevertheless, Case laments, the nation has taken its entrepreneurs for granted and hasn’t recognized that entrepreneurship is the “secret sauce” that flavors the U.S. economy:

Davos Today with Chrystia Freeland, January 26th edition

Chrystia Freeland
Feb 3, 2011 15:31 UTC

Last week at Davos, Chrystia anchored an hour-long daily talk show that featured many of the World Economic Forum’s most exciting participants.  Last Wednesday’s edition featured a segments on frugal innovation in India with two top Indian businessmen; the state of trust in business and government today with a behavioral economist and two CEOs; an appraisal of President Obama’s State of the Union from two pre-eminent economists; and more.  Here’s the video and the guest list:

* T.K. Kurien, CEO, Wipro IT

* Richard Edelman, President and CEO, Edelman

* Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics, Duke University Fuqua School of Business

* L. Kevin Kelly, CEO, Heidrick & Struggles

* David Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief, Reuters

* Raghuram Rajan, Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Why the Wall Street-Washington door revolves

Chrystia Freeland
Jan 14, 2011 15:57 UTC

As President Barack Obama’s new lieutenants settle into their offices in the White House, talk has turned again to the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: William Daley, the president’s chief of staff, arrives from JPMorgan Chase, where he earned millions; Gene Sperling, the new top economic adviser, collected $887,727 from Goldman Sachs for advice on a charity project on a recent hiatus from government.

There’s nothing new about this tradition – indeed there was a time not so long ago when it seemed as if actually running Goldman Sachs was a prerequisite for serving as Secretary of the Treasury. But the triple whammy of the financial crisis, the trillion-dollar government bailout and the return of lavish bonuses to many on Wall Street while unemployment in the United States is stuck above 9 percent has cast the intimacy between political and business elites in a new, often more jaundiced light.

To many U.S. business people, and to centrists in both parties, the concern that Mr. Obama’s White House is too close to business sounds absurd. Far from being a dangerous example of an overly intimate relationship between business and politics, Mr. Obama’s recent appointments, particularly of Mr. Daley, are seen as a welcome sign that the White House will work harder to bring business onto its side.

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