Obama Supports Keeping Tech Jobs Onshore

On the anniversary of the passing of the economic stimulus package, President Obama discusses the accomplishments and challenges still facing the economy. In terms of job creation, the president says he believes there is still a long way to go, but says technology jobs will be a major part of that future.

The 2009 economic stimulus package has not been proven to have created a whole lot of technology jobs, but that is not stopping President Obama from talking up its importance to the economy of the future. By and large, stimulus funds have been shown to have helped out beleaguered state and local governments, saving the jobs of teachers, local officials, fire and police squads, military personnel, and local health care workers.
On Feb. 17, President Obama once again emphasized the necessity of stimulus funds as an emergency measure to keep the economy afloat on the recessionary tides. He also talked about keeping well-paid technology jobs in the United States and the importance of investing in the future technology workers of the country.
Department of Labor research from January showed a gain of 12,000 technology jobs, but it hardly makes up for the 200,000 technology jobs lost in 2009. Where are the tech jobs going to come from?
"The jobs of the 21st century are in areas like clean energy and technology, advanced manufacturing, [and] new infrastructure," Obama said. "That kind of economy requires us to consume less and produce more; to import less and export more."
He did not hold back on the topic of technology jobs moving offshore:

"Instead of sending jobs overseas, we need to send more products overseas that are made by American workers and American business. And we need to train our workers for those jobs with new skills and a world-class education. Other countries already realize this. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're building high-speed railroads and expanding broadband. They're making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs."

Economists at Macroeconomic Advisers said they believe the Recovery Act funds have saved between 1.6 and 1.8 million jobs and are set to create 2.5 million jobs when all the funds have been allocated. The question many in the country have, however, is whether the country would be in the same situation if it did not allocate $787 billion in funds. Columnist David Leonhard of The New York Times puts it in some context:

"[T]he stimulus package, flaws and all, deserves a big heaping of credit. "It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been," Nariman Behravesh, Global Insight's chief economist, says. "I think everyone would have to acknowledge that's a good thing."

So what now?

The last year has shown-just as economists have long said-that aid to states and cities may be the single most effective form of stimulus. Unlike road- or bridge-building, it can happen in a matter of weeks. And unlike tax cuts, state and local aid never languishes in a household's savings account."

More job creation in the private sector where the bulk of technology jobs reside is the president's stated goal for 2010:

"You can argue, rightly, that we haven't made as much progress as we need to make when it comes to spurring job creation. That's part of the reason why the Recovery Act is on track to save or create another 1.5 million jobs in 2010. That's part of the reason why I expect Congress to pass additional measures as quickly as possible that will help our small business owners create new jobs; give them more of an incentive to hire."

The problem is that many people think the stimulus was essentially a waste of money. From CNN:

"Twenty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say nearly all the money in the stimulus has been wasted, with 24 percent feeling that most money has been wasted and an additional 29 percent saying that about half has been wasted. Twenty-one percent say only a little has been wasted and 4 percent think that no stimulus dollars have been wasted.

"One reason why the economic stimulus bill is no longer popular with the American public is the perception that a lot of the money has been wasted. Six in 10 believe that the projects in the stimulus bill were included for purely political reasons," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland."