Barack Obama says we want less debt, lower taxes, more trade
WASHINGTON: It seems Washington is all ears these days.
President Barack Obama says he'll take a great idea to fix the economy anywhere he hears it. The Republican leaders in Congress can't say enough how determined they are to "listen to the American people." OK. Here goes. We want less debt, lower taxes, more trade, less trade, "less talk and more walk," a brand new New Deal, a private sector renaissance, money for trains and roads, easier credit, a clampdown on CEO pay, more immigration, less immigration, government off our backs, a safer safety net, cheaper health care, the dismantling of Obamacare - and how about some energy derived from burning algae?
Plus a new tone in Washington. All in a New York minute. The Associated Press asked people across the country to serve up their ideas to set the economy straight, a challenge underscored Friday when the jobless rate climbed to 9.8 percent, topping 9 percent for a record 19 straight months. They answered in a cacophony of voices, from the corporate office to the cafe.
America is not just a tea party. It's a coffee shop in Texas, too. It's a union hall in New York and it's Silicon Valley in California.
In Menlo Park, Calif., venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, an online pioneer who co-founded Netscape Communications, said the "single biggest thing we could do to accelerate the economy by far is to increase immigration."
"We have this bizarre paradox," he says, "where we have the world's best research universities, we have the smartest people who come from all over the world to come to study. They end up getting degrees in computer science, electrical engineering and chemical engineering and then we kick them out of the country. It's just absolutely crazy. "If they were able to stay here to work for other companies and start other companies, we would have so much more economic growth. It would be just amazing. What we are doing now is just completely self-destructive."
The U.S. offers 65,000 visas a year for foreigners with advanced skills sought by U.S. companies, plus 20,000 visas for people who graduate from U.S. schools with a master's or higher in certain fields. Some companies complain the visas are not granted quickly enough.
If U.S. goes begging for brainiacs, that means plenty of opportunity for people such as Ulises Aranda, 24, of the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch. He graduated with a master's in mechanical engineering in May and had no shortage of job offers. He chose to work for his father's engineering construction firm. -Ap