The Great Jobs Debate

The economy has been growing for nearly two years since the Great Recession— but someone forgot to tell the American worker. Twenty five million Americans are still underemployed, out of work, working part time, or out of the workforce altogether. For perspective, that number is the same as the population of Texas. Something is broken. Has Washington given up on the unemployed? Or has the economy been fundamentally transformed under the pressures of globalization, technology, and a housing bust?

The Atlantic and McKinsey & Company brought together some of the top minds in business, government, and the world of ideas, each to answer the same question: What is the single best thing Washington can do to jumpstart job creation? Check back here each day through July 22 for more entries.

Stop Trying to Create Jobs, Washington! Reuters

Stop Trying to Create Jobs, Washington!

Michael P. Fleischer

What is the single most important step the government should take to create more jobs? Easy--it should stop trying. Just stop trying.

Derek Thompson

The 16 Best Ideas to Supercharge Job Creation in One Venn Diagram

The most interesting and substantive ideas from the Atlantic/McKinsey Great Jobs Debate

Gerald Chertavian

Give Employers Money to Train, Hire Workers For a Trial Period

Call it a "try before you buy" model, or a risk-free hiring process

Chris Danello

So Many Ideas, So Few Jobs: Why Experts Can't Solve Unemployment

Suggestions to create jobs won't actually help America's unemployed any time soon

Richard Florida

Teach Job Creation at Our Business Schools

What if creating jobs -- for ourselves and for others -- became the mantra of our MBA, engineering, science and graduate programs?

Darrell M. West

Stop Forcing Smart Immigrants to Leave the Country

We need to apply an "Einstein Principle" in our approach to immigration and technology innovation

Dana Goldstein

Connect Teenagers to the World of Work

Students are less likely to drop-out and more likely to enjoy school when they see their classes as relevant to their future.

Jody Lewen

Stop Pretending the Unemployment Problem Will Fix Itself If We Ignore It

We are, as a culture, deeply invested in not identifying with people who cannot find a job.

Carl Camden

Make the Tax System Work for the Working Class

The most important thing the United States can do to create jobs is strip away outdated policies that no longer support companies or the people who work in them.

Ross DeVol

Cut Corporate Taxes by a Third

We should reduce the corporate tax rate to 23 percent, a 12-percentage-point reduction from the current 35 percent rate.

Peter Wallison

Repeal the Democrats' Complex and Expensive Legislation

Health care reform, financial reform, and the Consumer Protection Act have made it difficult for businesses to anticipate their future costs.

Martin Neil Baily

Deal With the Deficit Maturely and Immediately

By far the most important thing the federal government can do to build confidence is to agree on a ten-year plan to deal with the budget deficit.

Mike Haynie

Unlock Capital for Small Business

The job creation engine of small business is out of gas. Let's try microlending to get small firms money to hire and expand.

Mary Kay Henry

Get Millionaires to Pay Their Fair Share

Surely we can muster the political courage to tell millionaires they can keep their yachts, but it's time to put American back to work

Bill Clinton

Paint Your Roofs White

Tar roofs cover millions of American buildings, absorbing huge amounts of heat and requiring more air conditioning to cool the rooms

Julián Castro

Invest in American Brainpower

Too many high-tech companies rely on talented immigrants to fill jobs in the digital economy. Immigration is important, but we also need homegrown talent.

Megan McArdle

Create a Special Job Credit for the Long-Term Unemployed

The only government solution to long-term unemployment we've ever found was to have World War II. We don't want to do that again. But here's an idea.

Michelle A. Rhee

Invest in Our Most Effective Teachers

First, we need to put in place fair and rigorous teacher evaluation systems

Paul Kedrosky

Use These 4 Cheap, No-Nonsense Ideas

First, give every foreign graduate student in a U.S. science, technology, engineering, or mathematics program a work visa

Ryan Avent

Increase the Money in Circulation

The Fed needs to buy more Treasury bonds and securities. As money in circulation rises, so too will the value of spending.

Bruce Katz and James S. Rubin

Supercharge the Export Potential of Our Major Cities

The government should set a strong national platform for exports, starting with the ratification of free trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia.

Twitter's Take on #atlanticjobs


  • Michelle A. Rhee Former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system, and founder and CEO of StudentsFirst
  • Steve Case Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, co-founder of America Online, and chairman of The Case Foundation
  • Julián Castro Mayor of San Antonio
  • Eric Spiegel President and chief executive officer of Siemens Corporation and CEO of the U.S. Region
  • Paul Kedrosky Contributing editor for Bloomberg, editor of the popular financial blog Infectious Greed
  • Carl Schramm President and chief executive officer of the Kauffman Foundation
  • Mary Kay Henry International president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Matthew Yglesias Senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund
  • Bruce Katz Vice president at the Brookings Institution and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program
  • Gerald Chertavian Founder & CEO of Year Up, a training program for urban young adults
  • Jody Lewen Founder and executive director of the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison
  • Clive Crook Senior editor of The Atlantic, a columnist for National Journal, and a commentator for the Financial Times
  • Frederick Hess Resident scholar and director of Education Policy Studies
  • Megan McArdle Senior editor at The Atlantic who writes about business and economics
  • Darrell M. West Vice president of governance studies and director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution
  • Ryan Avent The Economist's economics correspondent and the primary contributor to Free Exchange, an economics blog
  • Martin Neil Baily Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for the Clinton administration from 1999 to 2001
  • Dana Goldstein Education journalist based in Brooklyn, Puffin Fellow at The Nation Institute, and Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation
  • Ross DeVol Executive director of economic research at the Milken Institute
  • Reihan Salam Reihan Salam is a policy advisor at Economics 21, a columnist for The Daily, and a blogger for National Review Online
  • Michael Fleischer President of Bogen Communications in Ramsey, New Jersey
  • Peter Wallison Member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and codirector of financial policy program at the American Enterprise Institute
  • Richard Florida Senior editor at The Atlantic and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto
  • Carl Camden President and chief executive officer of Kelly Services, Inc., a world leader in workforce solutions
  • Mike Haynie Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Whitman School of Management and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University