has much to say about the new focus of President Barack Obama
's job summit, which took place on Thursday. I've never been a fan of the summits and blue ribbon panels that politicians set up. Usually, they are a means of coming to a predetermined conclusion or obfuscating an issue that a politician would rather not discuss. President Obama's job summit came just ahead of the release of new unemployment
figures but the meeting could help him come up with some solutions if he makes some tough decisions.
According to the Washington Post:Creating jobs is a political and economic imperative for President Obama, who is holding a high-profile jobs summit Thursday that aides hope will demonstrate his concern for the plight of everyday Americans. Obama has summoned 130 corporate executives, economists, small-business owners and union leaders to the White House to sound out ideas for accelerating job growth during the worst labor market in a generation.
Unlike the economic crisis where many agreed that a stimulus would be a wise move, there is no similar consensus when it comes to boosting jobs. Unions want direct government funding of jobs programs while some private industry wants free trade measures that the unions oppose. President Obama is trying to please everyone by pledging not to increase deficit spending.
President Obama can't please everyone so he needs to make some tough decisions because the unemployment numbers are miserable to look at.The official unemployment rate
is 10.2 percent but add in the underemployed and those who have stopped looking and it's more like 17.5 percent
. For African Americans, the official unemployment rate is above 15 percent. For African Americans ages 16 to 24, the official unemployment rate is 30.5 percent.
As the New York Times' Editorial Board points out: Mr. Obama must instead make the case that the immediate need for more federal help trumps the longer-term need for deficit reduction; otherwise, the economy is in for a self-reinforcing stretch of joblessness that would cost more in the end than additional spending today. Mr. Obama should detail separate plans for taming the deficit - including ironclad commitments to pay for health care reform. What he must not do is continue to conflate the need for job creation with the need for deficit reduction to the detriment of jobs.
President Obama must also move quickly.
Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett
says that will now happen, saying the administration would put "everything on the table.
"The solutions are not solely in government, [but] the private sector cannot do it without the support of government," Jarrett said. "How can we marry those two interest and come up with some specific, concrete ideas of how to move forward?"
I like that we have a deliberative President when it comes to major issues. Everyone has had a chance to sit at the table and voice their ideas. Now, it's time for some action.