The Missing Jobs Council
Yesterday, Politico reported on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness not having met for the past six months. The article goes on to document numerous cases between the president and various individuals on the 26-member council differing on key job creation strategy. While not all strategies are going to be adopted or implemented by the administration, hence the nature of government and democracy, the main question we have is, where is the urgency?
Six months ago in January 2012, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. Today the rate remains largely unchanged at 8.2 percent, not including the long-term unemployed. With new dismal jobs numbers likely spurring the Federal Reserve into more quantitative easing, it begins to look as though the priorities of the president and Congress are less and less likely to take action on actual policy until after November.
No one in Washington would disagree with the fact that priorities change for elected members of office as we approach another election, but many would argue that performing well in your position is your best campaign tool. The president though has not utilized a key source of innovation when it comes to rebuilding the American jobs market, because he “has got a lot on his plate,” according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Carney went on to argue that the president solicits and receives input and advice from members of his jobs council and other about economic initiatives all the time. But Paul Vockler, former head of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board commented that, “The restrictions on the way in which a board like that operates makes it very difficult to give informal advice,” leaving us wondering to whom the president is actually talking.
Regardless of whom the president is talking to, unemployment continues to remain high, and Americans still wait for leadership from the administration or Congress. With a possible tax increase, sequestration, a string of municipal bankruptcies, and an imminent fiscal cliff that may send the economy back into recession, Americans are looking for more out of Washington than politics as usual. And who can blame them?