Monday, June 13, 2011

So Barack Obama’s paid-lackeys, GE CEO Jeff Imelt (whose corporation payed NO income taxes last year) and American Express CEO Ken Chenault (whose corporation was the recipient of the 9th-largest share of TARP funding) penned a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal about their participation with 24-other corporate blue-bloods in the President’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council

The stated goal of this august group is to come up with ways to accelerate job creation. They’ve been at it for 90-days, and have identified eight areas that need help, with designated teams to address them.
It’s a noble effort. 
After all, who wouldn’t want to find a way to put more people to work, and slim down the lines at the unemployment office?

The Council is looking at sectors like construction, manufacturing, health care and tourism, and they’ve bandied-about the usual buzz-words expected from committees like this: skills and training, regulatory reform, and innovation.

(“Innovate?” We need a committee for this?? How about just someone with a toilet plunger to unclog what’s already in existence so that it works smoothly?!)

Don’t you just feel good already, knowing these captains of commerce are on the job, off the job, on Jobs? The problem is, they might just be working on the wrong problem. 

According to economists at other financial institutions, like Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch, the 7+% unemployment rate currently in vogue may be the new normal for years to come.  It may well be that an Employment Rate of 92% is as good as it gets, given the educational and skill levels of the American workforce.

To be sure, upgrading the abilities of workers to perform jobs needing filled is important; and putting construction workers back on the job would be a boost in every local economy where they’re employed. But there are some more fundamental reasons why our economy—and employment—is ailing: When the Federal Government can coerce Lehman and GM into bankruptcy, and emasculate an entire regional economy by banning offshore drilling operations, who has left the temerity to challenge the powers that be? When businesses are reticent to hire new employees because the future obligation of providing healthcare or else is murky, who wants to risk it?

In addition to Manufacturing, construction and health care, the Blue Bloods are looking for ways to entice more tourists to travel to America. Frankly, it won’t happen so long as the TSA is allowed to commit statutory rape in our airports. 
There’s THAT solution.

We don’t need blue ribbon panels to tell us how to fix things that aren’t organically broken: Manufacturing and construction will pick up when people begin to feel comfortable enough about the future to bank on it. Jobs will materialize when companies feel confident enough in the government to stay out of the way of businesses doing business. 

And the first step the Administration might take would be to come clean with the American people about the economy—and how long it may be that we operate this way—instead of forming a committee made up of the reps of firms who’ve been feeding at the public trough all along.

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