Re: The Obama
posted at 1/18/2013 10:14 AM EST
From the article:
"The Council was focused in 2012 on implementing the recommendations made in its three reports. Of the 60 recommendations for executive action, significant progress has been made on 54. Also Congress passed legislation on six recommendations made by the Council," Sheffer said in an email. Council recommendations led to administration initiatives to fast-track infrastructure projects, accelerate the processing of business and tourist visas, and a program to "look back" through existing regulations for those that are outdated and burdensome, Sheffer added. He also pointed to a series of public-private initiatives council members launched to jump start job creation."
So whats the hub bub about?
Obama's jobs council has actually done what it was supposed to do. It has issued several reports with a number of recommendations for ways to boost hiring and energize the economy. These are mostly sensible ideas, including many that businesses have favored for a long time, such as streamlining regulation, improving education, and reforming the corporate tax code.
Several of these ideas have even been implemented. The JOBS Act passed last year contained measures to aid small, fast-growing companies, just as the jobs council recommended. Obama used an executive order to fulfill another council recommendation, speeding up the process for foreigners requesting a visa for travel to the United States. That has apparently worked, with visa approvals far higher than they were last year, and more foreigners visiting America.
But many of the council's recommendations require the kind of congressional action that's not likely in the current climate of hostility. One good example: allowing more highly skilled immigrants to remain in the United States, which many economists consider a no-brainer. Yet Congress has dithered on the necessary approvals, which is a shameful abdication of responsibility.
Other big priorities, such as education and tax reform, will require years of work and deep compromise. As with many other challenges affecting the U.S. economy, the problem isn't figuring out what needs to be done. It's doing it. Obama could even credibly respond to critics of his moribund jobs council by saying that the time for meetings is over. There's a plan. It makes sense. Holding more meetings isn't the way to generate action.
Meanwhile, it's well-known what Washington politicians need to do if they really want to fix the economy: resolve the big questions about tax and spending policy that need to be addressed by the end of the year. Develop a credible plan for reducing the national debt. Get started on tax and entitlement reform. And do it now, instead of waiting till the last minute and subjecting everybody to needless drama. When all that is done, maybe we can have more meetings about what to do next.