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Friday, December 04, 2009

The White House Jobs Summit

As the newest unemployment numbers are reported today, this from a press release: "The unemployment rate, which had risen to 10.2% in October, declined to 10.0% in November. This decline primarily reflects an increase in the number employed, as measured by the household survey. Despite the welcome decline, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high. This underscores the need for the responsible actions to jump start private-sector job creation that the President highlighted at yesterday’s Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth at the White House." - WH Economic Adviser Christine Romer

Any drop in unemployment numbers is welcome. However, one month's slight trend in smaller numbers does not equal much cheering. Will next month show a correction in the other direction? Did the shorter work week by federal employees due to the Thanksgiving weekend cause lower numbers reported? If offices weren't open, new claims could not be filed.

Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama held a "Jobs Summit". The invited participants is a list chock full of liberal economists, union leaders, liberal business CEO's, and other special interests on the left side of the aisle. Not invited include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Was that simply small minded payback from the administration to a segment of the business world not in favor of the Obamacare legislation currently in the works?

It was, to be honest, a liberal echo chamber of Obama supporters. Appropriate enough, if you are of the opinion that these summits are little more than photo ops and feel good cheerleading sessions.

So, why was this summit called in the first place? Simply speaking, it is because the Obama administration is slowly acknowledging that it is high unemployment and the uncertainty of those employed that weighs heaviest on the minds of voters. As the President spends more and more political capital on his insistence that the dreadful legislation known as health care/health insurance reform be passed this year, despite plummeting numbers of those in favor of the legislation, the President would now like the voter to believe he has been championing job creation all along.

Ridiculous to those staying current on the agenda of this President and his administration, anyone with a television or reading a news report knows that this president has been a tunnel-visioned johnny one-note on health care/health insurance reform since his inauguration. The problem is, however, with the implementation of his economic recovery policies, the economy is not at all what was predicted by his liberal economic team. Now, with the elections of 2010 on the horizon, the polling does not bode well for Democrats or for incumbents. With Democrats in such large majorities in Congress, this is bringing about much angst among the polling and pundit class.

Even the liberal polling operation of Democracy Corps, the outfit run by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, recent polls conducted have been squelched, due to unfavorable findings toward Democrats. They find voters angry and blaming those in charge. Reasonable enough. The economy is first and foremost the issue on the average voter's mind. The number of people polled on the question of whether or not the country is heading in the right direction continues to show bad news for Obama and Democrats. Today the number is 58% responding that the direction is in the wrong column. The latest Democracy Corps poll shows 64% list jobs as the most important problem facing our country - twice the number over concern about the deficit or the cost of health care currently in the country. While there is still plenty of blame to be put on the previous administration, in the minds of voters, this president is being held more accountable and that will continue as he is in office longer.

What was the first on the agenda of this new administration? They chose to ram through legislation on the stimulus spending - hugely unpopular by at least half of the population of voters and then the House passed cap and tax legislation on global climate change. Then, the House passed their version of health care/health insurance reform which is more draconian than the Senate version now being debated. None of this is favorable to the business climate for job creation.

Higher taxes and government mandates on benefits offered by employers is a recipe for job loss. Pending legislation on 'card check' - the act of bullying employees into joining unions - is a job killer.

While President Obama now states his recognition that it is the private sector that creates jobs with government providing favorable conditions, he has acted otherwise. When his own Senior Economic Advisor Christine Romer came on board, she did a complete 180 degree turn in her previous history of economic thought. One wonders if she has any regrets of selling out for a White House position. She did no favor to her country.

President Obama called a jobs summit only after becoming fully aware of the falling numbers for him in the polls. That is the only conclusion reasonably acceptable. The summit was hastily put together and key conservative/business friendly voices were not invited to participate. Candidate Obama promised to listen to all voices when making policy. He benefits, and the country moves forward, if he would only keep that promise.

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