The Iowa Strategy: Job Creation

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Iowa caucus-goers will choose their favorite GOP presidential hopefuls based on a number of issues, but jobs will be the biggest issue when voters hit the precincts.

A quick glance at the front-runners reveals that they agree on one thing: create jobs.

Mitt Romney calls the American workforce the nation's "greatest renewable natural resource." Though that rhetoric makes almost no literal sense, we understand Romney's figurative meaning. His plan includes seven subsections to grow jobs, but the section on "human capital" is worth noting as it directly pertains to workers. He wants to "retrain workers" through "personal re-employment accounts," which would facilitate government programs to place people directly into companies that provide on-the-job training. Romney's plan says that it would eliminate redundancy in already-existing federal retraining programs by consolidating into a single agency. Details beyond that are fairly sparse. It does say that states would manage these retraining programs and that the money would come from federal grants.

An interesting twist to Romney's job-creation or "human capital" plan, is his promise to attract "the best and the brightest." This section is a long comment on how the former Massachusetts governor plans to attract and retain foreign-born residents with advanced degrees to create jobs and drive innovation. He explicitly states "lawful" immigrants start about 16% of America's "top-performing, high-technology companies" and that they produce more than 25% of all patent applications filed in the United States. He wants to raise visa caps for "highly skilled workers" -- Romney doesn't qualify what that means -- and he wants to grant permanent residency to graduates with advanced degrees in math and science. At once, it tackles the supremely sensitive issue of immigration while it promotes job creation. Fine, but Romney has to put to work a lot more than people who are "highly skilled lawful immigrants" and workers in need of retraining.

Ron Paul takes less of a direct approach to job creation and emphasizes the need to cut government waste and decrease taxes, which the congressman expects will drive growth. Paul, like his opponents, says that the private sector creates jobs, not the government. So Paul wants to lower the corporate tax rate to 15%, extend all the Bush tax cuts and end taxes on personal savings. He feels that these steps will help American families "build a nest egg."

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