You know, even as a moderate Republican, I like President Obama. I'm a free market kind of guy, so that means I respect the tsunami of public opinion that got our current president elected. I just wish/hope he remembers the free market power that got him elected. It's easy to worry about the socialization of heathcare, the liberal use of the term Czar, etc. I'm no expert in those areas, so I follow along the best I can.
Then I hear that the President is going to hold a "Jobs Summit" this week. The premise is simple enough - to figure out how to create jobs during a recession and recovery, where jobs growth always lags other recovery indicators. While the President has few (if any) levers at his control to actually control the creation of jobs, summits are what sitting presidents should do. Get together and talk, show you care, while the Adam Smith matrix works it out behind the scenes as we move in the years to come.
So, I'm always tolerant of our President holding summits and talking about what we can do collectively. Then I read what some of the people with access to the administration are pitching. That's when my teeth start to clench together.
Here's what the far left has to say Obama should push. From Thomas Kochan at the Huffington Post, whose day job is Professor of Management at MIT:
"A number of ideas for job creation have been proposed. Among them are a work sharing proposal that would provide unemployment benefits for reduced hours of work, an employer tax credit for creating new jobs, use of TARP funds to provide credit for small business, additional stimulus funds for local and state governments, and expanded investments in infrastructure and construction.
Getting wages moving again will require a new social contract between labor and business to replace the one that has been broken since the 1980s. The president should call on workers and their unions and associations to work in partnership with employers receiving taxpayer funds to build the high performance workplaces and work processes needed to generate high productivity and high service quality.
To do so, the president should announce his intention to work for speedy passage of a reframed and expanded Employee Free Choice Act, a labor law reform bill currently stalled in Congress. The reframing would state the objectives of the Act are both to restore workers' ability to join a union and gain access to collective bargaining and to transform labor management relations in ways that get wages once again growing in tandem with productivity and economic growth."
Damn. Couple of thoughts. First up, I'll give anyone the right to wonder, in economic times like the ones we're currently experiencing, if the government should double down on infrastructure projects and other levers that can create jobs. Of course, the deficit is there to keep everyone honest. Potential bankruptcy has a way of doing that with countries as well as households.
But job sharing? Are you kidding me? The way to create jobs is to hunker everyone down on the co-op and share jobs, limit hours and give everyone 1/2 of an apple? Really? That's the road to economic recovery?
And then there's unions. Kochan sees that as the way to get wages growing with GDP and build high performing workplaces. I'm at a loss for words. Then I remember that a lot of people in the president's ear think that kind of social design is probably a good idea.
Thanks for listening to me rant. Obama is our president, which means he's my president. I'd like him to succeed, and I think he's a smart guy. But if he mentions job sharing as a method of helping resolve high unemployment, I might have to start my own tea party. How many of Obama's top 100 people during the campaign were job sharing or members of unions?
That's your answer to the crazy talk, Mr. President. It's called competition, and regardless of where we find ourselves, it's the best medicine for a recovery.
2010 elections for a little balance, anyone? I'm always happiest when neither party has a huge numbers edge and moderates/independents hold the true power.