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Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio is co-chair of the bipartisan Jobs Now Caucus. She joins us live from Detroit this morning.
Good morning, congresswoman.
And let me ask you first about this idea that we need something else, some new piece of legislation or some new big push to actually create jobs. What we've seen to date has been programs really meant to mitigate the feeling of joblessness, it's been jobless benefits, also some infrastructure spending in the stimulus. But do we need something bigger and something new?
REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D-OH), CHAIR, CONGRESSIONAL JOBS NOW CAUCUS: I think that's why we formed the Jobs Now Caucus with over 130 members on a bipartisan basis to keep the focus on job creation.
I think what's happening, Christine, is that the incorrect tools to solve what was wrong in the banking system, the incorrect approach has really dried up credit across our country. And the housing foreclosure crisis has not been solved. It's been going up. And that really tripped the economy into a deep, deep recession.
ROMANS: You think the incorrect tools, you think the focus on helping the banks, it wasn't done well, it wasn't done correctly, and so now you have banks not lending, and that lack of lending is starving job creation?
KAPTUR: That is. And so, we have to look to the systemic problems that we're facing, but also with 15.7 million people minimum unemployed across the country. In Ohio it's now over 628,000 up in a year, 200,000 more than last year. And here in Michigan, of course, the state has the greatest amount of unemployment, we have to be much more focused about what we are doing as a country. And the Jobs Now Caucus intends to do that on a bipartisan basis.
ROMANS: Let's talk about the stimulus, though. We have a $787 billion stimulus, there is still some $600 billion left to spend. It was time released frankly over two years, it's meant to keep going out. It would be very unpopular to ask for another stimulus. People are already questioning how this one's been spent and even where we can point to successes in the stimulus, there is a little bit of skepticism. Can you sell spending more money on creating jobs?
KAPTUR: I think we have to look at where this money is going. Only 22 percent of the Recovery bill has been committed at this point. And it stopped the hemorrhage of police officers and teachers across our country. There has been some limited investment in roads and bridges and so forth.
But I think we need to help put America back to work. And this particular bill I think was not properly targeted in some cases. And we want to look at the TARP money and that money coming back in, where that's being spent.
People want to work, and we have a responsibility at the federal level to help relieve some of this pain. You know, when Franklin Roosevelt was president in the first three months of his presidency, with the help of Harry Hopkins, there were over 350,000 people that were put back to work. Hundreds of thousands of people were employed and many more came online later.
I think we need more rigor, we need more push behind a federal program that can really help reemploy people.
ROMANS: There are plenty of economists who tell that you the government can only create jobs in a very short term basis, that it has to be private industry that's back on its feet that's creating jobs on a larger scale. Small business creates I think 60 percent of new jobs.
Do you need some sort of mix of small business tax cuts, of some things that can make the environment better for creating jobs? But government by itself can't really create jobs, can it?
KAPTUR: Government because of the way the banking crisis was handled has killed jobs. When credit dries up small business generally gets loans from local institutions. They're not lending. And the home foreclosure crisis is getting worse.
The first time home buyer credit really has made a difference in the real estate market. There was a little bit of an uptick in the third quarter. And we have to look at ways of targeting bottom-up job creation, and we have to look back at what's happened in the banking system.
But we've also got to sop up some of this high level of unemployment across the country in the areas that are being hardest hit. And I know that our caucus is going to focus directly on that when we go back next week.
ROMANS: And certainly the president and his summit will discuss this on the December 3rd as well.
KAPTUR: We welcome that.
ROMANS: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, thank you for joining us. KAPTUR: Thank you very much.
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