Obama's 'Jobs Council' hasn't met for 6 months

The White House Jobs Council -- a panel of prominent CEO's tasked with coming up with recommendations to spur job growth -- hasn't met for 6 months and have no plans to meet anytime soon.

Maybe they think 8.2% unemployment is the best Obama can do.


The last official meeting of the 26-member President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness took place Jan. 17 in the White House complex. Obama and a slew of other administration officials attended, including his then chief of staff, Bill Daley.

Obama named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head the panel in January of last year as the president tried to mend his frayed relationship with the business community and highlight his commitment to job creation. Part of the council's political value was to show Obama working closely with top business leaders on behalf of the American people. But the White House insisted that the council's recommendations would lead to real action.

The panel held three "quarterly" sessions last year with Obama: in February, June and October.

"This has not been a show council. This has been a work council," Obama declared during the January 2012 session, where the panel presented a report containing more than 60 recommendations aimed at stimulating job creation.

"I have been tracking implementation of your recommendations. And we've seen substantial progress across the board," Obama added. "Hopefully, we've at least met your expectations in follow-through and implementation; what we haven't seen is a bunch of white paper sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust."

But the January meeting also exposed tensions.

Moments before Obama arrived, one of the board's two labor leaders, Joseph Hansen of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, publicly abstained from the tax recommendations in the report. The other labor representative, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, skipped the meeting and issued a scathing three-page dissent.

"Window dressing: indeed. Many members of the council apparently are not endorsing Obama for a second term, which could prove embarrassing if they were to meet again. Then there's the uncomfortable reality that some of those companies are the nation's pre-eminent outsourcers of jobs overseas. As Obama whacks Romney like a pinata for outsourcing, it would undercut his attack if it was pointed out that companies like Immelt's GE reguarlly shipped jobs out of the country.

Does anyone know what Obama was talking about when he told the group he had been "tracking implementation of your recommendations?" Perhaps the president will make the argument that those "recommendations" that are being "implemented" are saving jobs. Unemployment would be 10%, thinks Obama, if this "work council not show council" wasn't on the job.

The irony of a "Jobs Council' in an economy with 8.2% unemployment seems to have been lost on the White House.


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