If President Obama wants to create more jobs and fix the economy, he should "put down a marker" and fight the Republicans in Congress, Robert Reich told CNBC Thursday.
The former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley said the "only way we’re going to get the deficit and the long-term debt under control is if we get back growth, and the only way to get back growth is for the government to be the spender of last resort," particularly for infrastructure projects.
Reich knows Republicans in the House of Representatives will block any spending Obama proposes in his speech next week.
"If the Republicans won’t go along, I think the president should say, 'Look, I’m going to fight you, I’m going to try to mobilize the American people and if nothing happens, well, we take this right through election day.' The president has got to put down a marker and make a major fight out of this."
There are 25 million people unemployed, underemployed or looking for full-time work, Reich said.
Lowering corporate taxes to promote job growth might have an easier time passing Congress, but Reich doesn't think that is "wise policy."
"Corporations are sitting on $2 trillion of cash right now," he said. "It’s not that they’re not hiring because they don’t have the wherewithal to hire, they’re not hiring because they don’t have the customers," he said. "If consumers are sitting on their hands…and worried about the future, giving corporate tax cuts is going to do nothing about this fundamental problem."