Obama's Jobs Plans: Would They Really Work?

"Small businesses create a lot of jobs, but large businesses create a lot of jobs too," he said.

Schmitt also questioned whether the credit might prove inefficient -- small businesses that planned on hiring anyway could still reap the benefits of the credit.

"In any kind of context like this, you want to spend money on changing people's behavior. You don't want to give money to people for things that they were going to do anyway."

The same is true, he said, for ending capital gains taxes for small businesses, which is meant to increase their investment in equipment and other capital expenditures.

Even without the elimination of capital gain taxes, "how many of these people would have made those investments anyway?" he asked.

Tax Incentives for Investment by All Businesses

Whether they're for businesses large or small, incentives to get businesses to buy more equipment and the like benefits the economy because it may encourage suppliers to increase their payrolls to keep up with rising demand, supporters say.

While "it's not directly impacting the labor market, stronger demand for investment leads to strong hiring down the road," Faucher said.

But, once again, it may not be the most efficient way to encourage hiring -- at least not in the U.S. That's because so much of the manufactured products purchased by U.S. companies are made abroad.

"A lot of that money will not go to job creation here in the U.S.," said Schmitt. "A lot of it may go overseas."

Government Investment in Infrastructure, Clean Energy Projects

The House's jobs bill includes $48.3 billion for infrastructure investments, including $2 billion for renewable energy and electricity projects.

In his speech yesterday, Obama touted a new high-speed railroad system -- funded by the administration's $787 billion stimulus program last year -- that is breaking ground today in Tampa, Fla.

"There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help our nation move goods, services and information," he said.

The usual critique of infrastructure investments -- both those funded by last year's stimulus and those proposed in Washington now -- is that they take a while to come to fruition.

Faucher said that, given the state of today's economy, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Some have predicted, after all, that the U.S. unemployment rate will hover around 10 percent for the next two years.

"Even if it takes a while for these projects to get going, they're still going to have a positive impact on labor market once they do start up," he said.

He's less optimistic, however, about job creation by the clean energy sector.

"It's such a small part of the economy," he said. "Maybe they think it polls well, but in terms of actual substantive job growth it's a drop in the bucket."

Cut Tax Breaks for Companies Sending Jobs Overseas, Give Tax Breaks to Companies Creating Jobs in the U.S.

The advent of foreign outsourcing has long been a thorn in the side of U.S. labor advocates, particularly those who've watched the U.S. manufacturing sector shrink to a shell of its former self.

Business advocates, meanwhile, argue that cheaper labor costs overseas allow them to be more competitive in a global market.

So would tax incentives to level the playing field between U.S.'s more expensive labor costs and those of, say, China?

University of Maryland economist Peter Morici says no.

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