On job creation, Obama faces competing ideas

Responding to estimates that it could take more than a decade to restore jobs lost in the recession, President Barack Obama will outline his job-creation priorities today.

He faces a plethora of competing ideas about what to do and what role government should have in stimulating employment.

One idea involves roughly $200 billion that is burning a hole in lawmakers' pockets — the money coming back from the banking industry rescue known as TARP. Some people want to redirect the money toward a jobs program to trim the national unemployment rate that is now at 10 percent.

The urgency to do something stems from concerns that lost payroll jobs will never return and that temporary, or just-in-time, hiring may become the norm.

"The job market has changed. America has changed. It's not going to be the same," said Mara Proctor, a laid-off designer of cabinets and limestone hearths who works at Sticks, a holiday-season art and home furnishings gallery on the Country Club Plaza.

"I'm just really looking for what’s out there for me next," Proctor said.

In the wake of last week's White House Jobs Summit and in advance of Obama's planned remarks at 10:25 a.m. Central time today at the Brookings Institution, it is clear that a job-growth jump-start is needed.

"There is a consensus that there ought to be more steps taken, but there's a difference about what those items are," said Robert Litan, the vice president of research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.

"They will do something. They have to. They're under pressure," said Lakshman Achuthan, the managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute in New York.

No one can say what the right "something" is, though.

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