Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The President’s Waste-of-Time Jobs Council

It took GE’s Jeff Immelt and Amex’s Ken Chenault and their “26 private sector leaders and people standing up for the rights of workers” 90 days to issue five “fast-action” recommendations to create “more than one million jobs.” (WSJ, June 13 “How We're Meeting the Job Creation Challenge”).

The Presidents Jobs Council’s recommendations are either:

1) Obvious (better education and training), or

2) Require more government spending (more SBA loans, more infrastructure spending), or

3) Make money for GE (install energy saving devices in buildings) or for Amex (issue more tourist visas), or

4) Call upon federal, state, and local licensers to do their jobs expeditiously as they are supposed to do anyway.

The Jobs Council will issue longer-term recommendations later. I lose all optimism, when I read that “government, business and labor (read: crony capitalists and big labor) need to work together to get this done.”

I do not need 90 days and millions of government money to give you my “Jobs Council” recommendations:

1) Reduce energy costs by halting the EPA’s attack on coal and drop regulations that require renewable energy to produce electricity. These measures lower the costs of doing business and encourage hiring.

2) Limit the duration of unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance cannot be a permanent entitlement. Empirical studies show unemployed persons exit unemployment near the end of their benefits.

3) Withdraw the NLRB’s ruling against Boeing’s new plant in South Carolina. The federal government and its regulators cannot be seen as blatantly anti-business. We cannot have an economy in which the government interferes in key investment decisions.

4) Allow for increased mobility of occupational licenses across state borders by attacking special-interest protection of licensed occupations. Increased mobility lowers unemployment.

5) Drop all attempts to prop up underwater mortgages and let the housing market clear as quickly as possible. Phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Housing will not expand until the industry reaches an equilibrium.

6) Have a bi-partisan agreement that reduces government spending and debt now, not in the distant future. The lack of agreement creates too much uncertainty about future taxes.

7) Provide businesses certainty as to their current and future tax liabilities. No business will hire without knowing its bottom line after taxes. Keep marginal tax rates low.

8) Adopt a bi-partisan solution of the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare starting now, not in the distant future.

9) Reform the education system to teach everyone basic skills of reading, writing, and math. With these skills, people can acquire the specific skills business needs.

10) Put teeth in the requirement that all regulations must produce benefits in excess of costs with realistic estimates of both.

11) Repeal Obama Care to give employers certainty as to their true employee costs. Let employers compete for workers by offering better health insurance and employees choose among employers for health insurance benefits.

12) Follow the dictum of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt and prohibit collective bargaining for public employees. The public is the "boss" of public sector workers not greedy capitalists.

13) Ratify outstanding free trade agreements. Expansions of trade lead to job expansion.

I guarantee that my jobs program will actually create jobs and economic growth. I imagine most honest economists would agree with me.

Neither political party, however, has the will or gumption to enact it.

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