Sunday, November 15, 2009

Opinion: Whitehouse jobs summit -- Hey kids, let's put on a show.

The whole White house jobs summit seems, to me, completely contrived and disingenuous. It seems like he had the jobs summit plan in Axelrod's back pocket and they were waiting to pull the trigger when the unemployment rate hit 10%. It is easy to think you have bigger fish to fry when you are running the world, but jobs and middle class economics are always in the top 3 for issues.

I can understand what the president is thinking. Hey's pretty smart. "There is very little I can do about jobs and unemployment. The Republicans in congress are screaming 'Debt' every time I float a stimulus proposal. I have to pass healthcare. Then education. Two issues domestic I can do something about. And both issues will help with long term unemployment. But I have to do something. Hmm, jobs summit."

Oh, you have to say jobs summit in the same voice as Mickey Rooney, "Hey, kids, let's put on a show."

America has some real long term issues around jobs and employment. Basically there is a long term mis-match between the US population and the US job market in terms of the size and education level required. Some good news is that financial shock absorbers like unemployment benefits, SSI, Medicare and aid to state and local municipalities help cushion the pain. There is very little the president can do unless things are really bad.

So for now let us watch the show. Right now the fun for us professionals is seeing who will be invited. I would think Stiglitz, Krugman and Ed Phelps would be a good start. It will be interesting to see what Conservative economist get picked.

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