(Bloomberg News) President Barack Obama, preparing for a post-Labor Day speech with plans for stimulating the economy, talked with billionaire Warren Buffett about how to boost job creation and spur growth.
"The president and Mr. Buffett discussed the overall outlook on the economy and the reaction to the headwinds we've experienced over the last couple of months," said Josh Earnest, an administration spokesman. "They talked a little bit about some possible measures that would spur investment and increase economic growth and they also talked about some measures that could address the long-term fiscal situation in this country."
Obama placed the call yesterday to the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., who has served as an informal adviser to the president, Earnest said. The president also talked with Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally about developments in the automotive and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
Obama plans to give an address on the economy shortly after the U.S. Labor Day holiday, which is Sept. 5. In conjunction with actions to shrink the nation's long-term deficit, Obama is considering steps to give a quick boost to employment, including an expanded infrastructure spending program, tax incentives for hiring workers, a cut in the payroll tax paid by employers and worker retraining programs.
Any measures to spur the economy that require additional government spending are likely to run into opposition from congressional Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.
One idea that has aroused interest among the president's advisers is a Georgia program that lets workers receiving unemployment insurance train for jobs at businesses at no cost to the employer, said a person familiar with deliberations.
At a town-hall meeting last week in Atkinson, Illinois, Obama praised the Georgia initiative as "a smart program." The Georgia Works program lets jobless workers continue to collect unemployment insurance while a new employer trains them on the job for eight weeks. After what amounts to a no-cost trial period for a potential new employee, the company may hire or pass on the person.
"You're essentially earning a salary and getting your foot in the door into that company," Obama said. "If they hire you full-time, then the unemployment insurance is used to subsidize you getting trained and getting a job."
The president previously has said he wants Congress to approve a program to increase spending on infrastructure projects such as roads to increase hiring in the construction industry and an extension of a temporary two-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax paid by employees that is set to expire at the end of the year.
Administration officials have said the president's advisers are considering additional moves as well. Some steps could be taken administratively and others would need congressional approval.