i’m concerned about the “jobless” recovery and the stagnation of wages for middle and lower class Americans. What can the White House do (and what is being planned) to raise American wages and support job growth nationally?
While we’ve seen real progress in creating jobs — see the chart below — the President has been clear that it isn’t enough. That’s why we are going to continue to invest in areas that will build a foundation for good-paying jobs — like energy, education and research. And the President is going to continue to fight to raise the minimum wage, which would benefit 28 million workers across the country — and help the businesses and communities they live in.
Thanks for all the great questions. Be sure to follow along tomorrow as Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, takes over as “Chartist in Residence” over at ILoveCharts.Tumblr.com.
This is the actual White House right? What are your opinions on net neutrality?
This is Jeff at the White House.
First of all, I should say that the FCC is an independent agency. But the President has been very clear where we stand on this. As he said this year: “It’s something that I’ve cared deeply about ever since I ran for office, in part because my own campaign was empowered by a free and open Internet and the ability for citizens all across the country to engage and create and find new ways and new tools to mobilize themselves. A lot of that couldn’t have been done if there were a lot of commercial barriers and roadblocks and so I’ve been a strong supporter of net neutrality.”
The White House pushes for young Americans to pursue STEM field research careers, but does not simultaneously create more STEM jobs by setting aside funding for that research. Instead, it anually proposes to cut the budget of many national labs by significant amounts. Why?
The President has been clear about the need for investing in research and careers in STEM. For example, the President’s budget this year called for significant investments in biomedical research, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing. And he’s set forth a goal of preparing 100,000 STEM teachers over the next decade.
Though unemployment has gone down, many of the jobs that have been created don't offer a livable wage. What are you doing to spur the creation of higher-quality jobs?
This is exactly what the President talked about today at Northwestern. I encourage you to check that out. Bottom line is that we need to be investing in good jobs in areas like manufacturing, infrastructure and innovation. We need to make sure Americans have the skills and education they need for those jobs. We also need to raise the minimum wage.
I am terrified of college. Not because of its rigor, or the social interaction that occurs on campus, but because of the massive debt involved, even with scholarships. I was afraid to go to college because of this reason, and I'm still afraid to continue college, because I don't want to be under crippling debt for the rest of my life. What do you think about the outrageous tuition rates we witness today? If you are against high tuition rates, what will you attempt to do in order to lower them?
First of all, I just want to say that while I know it may be tough, you should have no doubt that college is an important investment. When you look at your long-term earnings, getting a degree is as important as ever. And as I think about this problem as an economic adviser to the President, it’s crucial to the health of our economy that people pursue higher education.
But to make that possible, we know college needs to be affordable. So that’s why we’ve made historic investments in areas like Pell Grants and tax credits for students, which will help you pay for college. We’ve put out a plan to help students understand which schools provide the best value, which should help pressure universities to keep costs down. And we’ve worked to keep student loan rates while offering the Pay as You Earn program, which caps student loan payments at 10 percent of income.
I could go on, but the President says it best. Check out his Tumblr Q&A on college affordability here.
How does the ACA effect job growth on small businesses?
There’s a few reasons why the Affordable Care Act is a good deal for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Before the Affordable Care Act, many workers faced what economists call “job lock” – they could only get affordable coverage through their jobs, so the idea of striking out on their own as an entrepreneur wasn’t possible. Now, entrepreneurs can make the decision to start their own business without fear that they won’t be able to find secure, affordable health insurance.
Beyond that, the Affordable Care Act not only provides tax credits to help small businesses cover their workers, but it is also contributing to a dramatic slowdown in the growth of health care costs, which is making it easier for small firms to hire and pay a good wage. According to one recent survey (http://kff.org/health-costs/report/2014-employer-health-benefits-survey/ ) the average premium for family coverage offered by small firms increased this year at the slowest rate since the survey began in 1999 – and less than one-fifth the average rate over the decade before the Affordable Care Act became law.
Our businesses are in the longest streak of job growth in our history, but we need to do more to expand opportunity to more middle-class families. Tune in at 2:15pm ET as President Obama speaks at NorthwesternU on a new foundation for our economy.
Got questions about where we are and where we’re going? Tell us in the White House’s ask box, and Jeff Zients, the Director of the National Economic Council, will answer them here at 3:30pm ET, after the President’s speech.