Obama Should Use Executive Power To Create High-wage Jobs, Experts Say

President Obama needn’t wait for Congress to create American jobs at higher wages, but rather could do so by using his own executive power, according to several experts and scholars contributing to a forthcoming special report by a progressive magazine.

Organized by The American Prospect and Demos, a left-leaning policy center, contributors will hold a press call on Monday to discuss specfic actions Obama could take to help struggling American workers and enhance the U.S. economy.

The forthcoming report begins with the premise that the American middle-class, anchored in good jobs, has been squeezed for 30 years. The current financial crisis has only worsened this trend. There are numerous challenges to pushing a “good jobs” agenda, including a weakened labor movement, the lack of an industrial or trade policy that addresses employment, the absence of a serious labor market policy, and government’s failure, even in a deep recession, to focus on creating living-wage jobs, the contributors to the report believe.

The new report comes as the nation’s unemployment remains stuck perilously close to the double-digit mark, but the Senate appears unwilling to approve more than the most-modest economic aid. Given the paralysis of the Senate at the hands of Republicans wielding the filibuster, further action may well rest largely with Obama to improve the dismal jobs picture.

The new Demos/American Prospect special report offers several crucial reforms that the federal government could undertake to reverse the current economic woe. The issue is edited by Robert Kuttner, a Prospect co-founding editor, a senior fellow at Demos, and longtime reporter on labor and economic policy.

Aside from Kuttner, who will summarize the report and highlight key issues for near-term executive action, participants on the Monday press call will be:

•Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute, will discuss the economic landscape in the US and how “good jobs” have disappeared over the last three decades;
•Ann O’Leary, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic & Family Security at U.C. Berkeley School of Law and Senior Fellow at American Progress, is an author of one of the report’s articles on the government grant, loan and loan-guarantee programs, will discuss the existing authority held by the federal government allowing it to make these reforms; and
•Tom Woodruff, director of Change to Win’s Strategic Organizing Center, will discuss the connection between collective bargaining and higher wages, and why the future of organized labor is vital to the prosperity of the middle class.

A large labor coalition representing some 5 million workers, Change to Win helped fund the special report.

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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