Cheat Sheet: Where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Stand on Jobs

As the election heats up, so does the rhetoric. iVoice Beth Engelman takes a closer look at both candidates' jobs plans

From creating on-the-job training to rebuilding American roads, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have lofty plans for getting Americans back to work. But how do these plans compare?

Mitt Romney

Romney’s jobs plan focuses on three separate issues -- promoting free enterprise, retraining American workers and attracting/retaining the “best and the brightest” minds from around the globe.

Free Enterprise

Romney believes our economy will grow and prosper with less government regulation, which he claims can stifle a growing business, limiting its ability to hire and maintain employees. He also proposes an increase in free trade by opening up new markets with countries that are committed to free enterprise. Romney believes our current relationship with China is detrimental to American business because China uses unfair business practices and currency manipulation. Romney promises to use his business know-how and negotiating skills to force China to “play fair.”

Retaining American Workers

What was once an economy based largely on manufacturing is now comprised of a variety of industries that require a wide range of knowledge and skills. Romney proposes that government focus less on unemployment benefits and more on retraining American workers. He wants to give more power (and money) to individual states so that they can implement and execute retraining programs in partnership with local businesses. He also wants to create personal re-employment accounts that he says will “facilitate a partnership between states and private business thus creating opportunities for workers to find jobs that have on-the-job training.”

Attracting the Best and the Brightest

In order to keep America competitive in today’s global economy, Romney wants to attract the best and brightest minds from around the world. According to Romney, “foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate.”  Romney proposes that we create new legislation that will help keep highly skilled workers in the U.S., including raising visa caps and allowing graduates with advance degrees in engineering, math and science to legally reside in our country.

Barack Obama

Obama’s job plan focuses on bringing jobs back to the U.S., increasing manufacturing and exports, and rebuilding America from the ground up.

Reduce Outsourcing

Obama wants to bring jobs back to the U.S. by offering tax incentives to companies that bring jobs back from overseas. Another way Obama plans to decrease overseas outsourcing is to eliminate tax breaks to those companies who outsource jobs, thus making it financially advantageous for companies to hire and maintain jobs within our boarders.

Increasing Exports

Obama promises to create 1 million more manufacturing jobs by 2016. His vision includes doubling exports by strengthening America’s brand overseas, which is why he created the National Exports Initiative (NEI) in 2010. The NEI helps businesses export goods and services, compete for international contracts and recruit international buyers to U.S. trade shows. Like Romney, Obama is interested in opening up new markets for American goods and services by forging new trade agreements with untapped markets.

Rebuilding America from the Ground Up

Obama’s goal is to use tax incentives and spending to rebuild America from the ground up. He proposes to cut the payroll tax in half, making it easier for small businesses to hire new workers, and giving a “payroll tax holiday” to those companies that hire new workers or increase their current workers’ wages. In addition, Obama sees opportunities to put Americans back to work as we rebuild and modernize our schools, roadways and airports. He wants to expand high-speed wireless and create a public-private collaboration, where companies and local governments work together on rehabilitating local buildings and homes. Obama proposes finding new ways to help unemployed workers by giving states more flexibility to use unemployment insurance as an incentive for job-sharing, on-the-job training and programs focusing on learning how to start a business.

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