President Obama is bringing together economists and business leaders on Thursday to get feedback on proposals to create jobs. But senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett says there are tight budget limits to what the federal government can do to combat unemployment, and economists say the ultimate solution -- restoring economic growth -- is out of the president's hands. Can the jobs summit really accomplish anything, or is it a PR stunt? (Watch a Fox report about Obama's jobs initiative)
Utterly pointless: "Truth be told, there’s probably very little Obama can do to get the unemployment rate below 10 percent," says Jason Zengerle in The New Republic. But summits aren't about getting things done—they're about jawboning problems "to death." If Obama's going to try to do something for real—as we saw with Afghanistan—he'll decide "behind closed doors."
"So much gasbaggery, so little time"
Setting a job creation agenda will help: To make the jobs summit a success, say the editors of The New York Times, Obama has to stop trying to appease Republicans and conservative Democrats by talking about how budget deficits limit what he can do. Bold action will be costly, but a lot cheaper than letting high unemployment drag on.
"The job summit"
Want to create jobs? Help businesses: Keynesian economists have argued for decades that federal government spending "is the most effective way to jump-start an ailing economy," says Burton Folsom Jr. in National Review, but that tactic "always fails." What does work is cutting tax rates so they'll do better, and be able to create jobs.
"Get a job"
If this is more than a PR stunt, Obama will get an earful: If the "much-hyped" jobs summit really is an open exchange of ideas, says James Pethokoukis in Reuters, Obama should brace himself to hear how his "sweeping-yet-stalled" agenda is "contributing to the jobless recovery." Obama is scaring businesses with the specter of new health-care costs and regulations -- instead of encouraging them to create jobs by listening to their requests for tax cuts.
"How Obama is freezing the job market"
Stunt or no, the summit could help: Obama's jobs summit is "a translucent exercise in public relations," says Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic, and many business leaders are bound to leave "empty handed and disappointed." But there's still time to influence the administration's jobs policy for next year, and anything that could scratch the surface of the unemployment problem is worth considering.
"Jobs summit: The White House is stuck"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: September 30, 2014
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Are hedge funds doomed?
Subscribe to the Week