December 2, 2009
Posted: 11:51 PM ET
Note: Mitt Romney will be on Larry King Live Thursday, 9pm ET to discuss his 10 point plan
Today's White House jobs summit comes too late for millions of Americans who through no fault of their own have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings and, in many cases, the self-esteem and self-respect that come from work. Like other presidents before him, Barack Obama inherited a recession. But unlike them, he has made it worse, not better.
His failure to stem the unemployment tide should not have been a surprise. With no experience whatsoever in the world of employment and business formation, he had no compass to guide his path. Instead, he turned over much of his economic recovery agenda to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, themselves nearly as inexperienced in the private sector as he. Congress gave him and them everything they asked for, including a history-making three-quarters of a trillion dollar stimulus.
But it did little to stimulate the real economy – where jobs are created. Studies, initiatives and programs that liberal think tanks had long pined for were given life even as the private economy was on life support. The president's team assured us that their massive stimulus would hold unemployment below 8%. So with unemployment now at 10.2%, it is clear that their stimulus was a miscalculated failure.
In an attempt to disguise the truth, the administration has touted inflated figures of jobs "created."But every month, in good times and bad, jobs are created and jobs are lost. What matters is the net difference between the two numbers. Focusing solely on jobs created while ignoring the far greater numbers of jobs lost is Harry Houdini economics.
Growing government, as was done with the stimulus, inevitably depresses the private sector and job creation. Shrinking government and reducing government jobs is healthier for the economy, but this option was never seriously considered. That's no wonder: As White House guest logs for the first half of the year reveal, the most frequent visitor to the executive mansion was Andy Stern, the head of the Service Employees International Union, which represents government workers.
My 10-point plan
The president's economists insist that technically, the recession is over. But double-digit unemployment was neither prevented nor has it ended. To get people back to work as rapidly as possible and to restore America's economic vitality, the nation must change course. Here's the advice I would give:
•Repair the stimulus. Freeze the funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect them to immediate, private sector job-creation priorities.
•Create tax incentives that promote business expansion and hiring. For example, install a robust investment tax credit, permit businesses to expense capital purchases made in 2010, and reduce payroll taxes. These will reignite construction, technology and a wide array of capital goods industries, and lead to expanded employment.
•Prove to the global investors that finance America's debt that we are serious about reining in spending and becoming fiscally prudent by adopting limits on non-military discretionary spending and reforming our unsustainable, unfunded entitlements. These are key to strengthening the dollar, reducing the threat of rampant inflation and holding down interest rates.
•Close down any talk of carbon cap-and-trade. It will burden consumers and employers with billions in new costs. Instead, greatly expand our commitment to natural gas and nuclear, boosting jobs now and reducing the export of energy jobs and dollars later.
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