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Economic prescriptions vary after mildly positive jobs report

The more things change, the more they stay the same in D.C. Though the private sector gained more than 150,000 jobs in October, Democrats and Republicans remain as divided on economic remedies as they were when the economy was losing jobs.

WASHINGTON — The prescriptions for righting the economic ship were vastly different when the economy was losing jobs, so what about when it gained jobs? Well, judging from what President Obama and Rep. John Kline said today, the gap between Dems and the GOP remains as wide as ever.

The unemployment rate remained steady at 9.6 percent in October, though about 159,000 private-sector jobs were created. In total, 1.1 million private-sector jobs have been created this year, though Obama and Kline were quick to note that the improvement wasn’t coming nearly quickly enough.

In a morning statement in the White House Roosevelt Room, Obama restated his support for additional strategic tax cuts, as well as boosting infrastructure investment and spending more on green energy and research. And he said his 10-day trip to Asia (he leaves today) will include an attempt at opening up Asian markets for additional American exports.

Kline, the likely chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, responded by saying that “after two years of bailouts, government takeovers, unsustainable deficits, rising unemployment, and looming tax hikes, the American people have demanded we put a stop to the failed policies of government expansion”

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Their full statements are reprinted below. Obama:

Good morning, everybody.  We are in the middle of a tough fight to get our economy growing faster, so that businesses across our country can open and expand, so that people can find good jobs, and so that we can repair the terrible damage that was done by the worst recession in our lifetimes.  Today we received some encouraging news.

Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private-sector job growth for 10 straight months.  That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs.  Let me repeat, over the course of the last several months, we’ve seen over a million jobs added to the American economy.  In October, the private sector has added 159,000 jobs.  And we learned that businesses added more than 100,000 jobs in both August and September as well.  So we’ve now seen four months of private-sector job growth above 100,000 [jobs], which is the first time we’ve seen this kind of increase in over four years.

Now, that’s not good enough.  The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high and we’ve got a lot of work to do.  This recession caused a great deal of hardship and it put millions of people out of work.  So in order to repair this damage, in order to create the jobs to meet the large need, we need to accelerate our economic growth so that we are producing jobs at a faster pace.  

Because the fact is an encouraging jobs report doesn’t make a difference if you’re still one of the millions of people who are looking for work.  And I won’t be satisfied until everybody who is looking for a job can find one.  So we’ve got to keep fighting for every job, for every new business, for every opportunity to get this economy moving.  And just as we passed a small business jobs bill based on ideas from both parties and the private sector, I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster.

This includes tax breaks for small businesses, like deferring taxes on new equipment, so that they’ve got an incentive to expand and hire, as well as tax cuts to make it cheaper for entrepreneurs to start companies.  This includes building new infrastructure, from high-speed trains to high-speed Internet, so that our economy can run faster and smarter.  It includes promoting research and innovation, and creating incentives in growth sectors like the clean energy economy.  And it certainly includes keeping tax rates low for middle-class families and extending unemployment benefits to help those hardest hit by the downturn while generating more demand in the economy.

It’s also absolutely clear that one of the keys to creating jobs is to open markets to American goods made by American workers.  Our prosperity depends not just on consuming things, but also on being the maker of things.  In fact, for every $1 billion we increase in exports, thousands of jobs are supported here at home.  And that’s why I’ve set a goal of doubling America’s exports over the next five years.  And that’s why on the trip that I’m about to take, I’m going to be talking about opening up additional markets in places like India, so that American businesses can sell more products abroad in order to create more jobs here at home.

And this is a reminder as well that the most important competition we face in this new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans.  It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy.  And our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation.  Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election. 

We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock.  Other countries, like China, aren’t standing still.  So we can’t stand still either.  We’ve got to move forward. 

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I’m confident that if we can do that, if we can work together, then this country will not only recover, but it will prosper.  And I’m looking very much forward to helping to pry some markets open, help American businesses, and put people back to work here at home during the course of this trip. 

Thank you very much.

And Kline:

Job creation is our nation’s number one challenge and Congress must make it our number one priority. For too long Washington has imposed a climate of economic uncertainty that stifles job creation and prolongs the pain felt by millions of workers and their families. After two years of bailouts, government takeovers, unsustainable deficits, rising unemployment, and looming tax hikes, the American people have demanded we put a stop to the failed policies of government expansion.

Our economy will not bounce back overnight, but the sooner we put in place policies that restore economic certainty, the easier it will be for job creators and entrepreneurs to get back in the game. That is why Congress should immediately turn its attention to reining in government spending and stopping looming tax hikes. Republicans have pledged to take these and other steps to transform the way Washington works, and we are eager to get started.