In the months leading up to the recent election, how many times did we hear the refrain "jobs, jobs, jobs"? It was the one economic point on which Democrats and Republicans agreed. The Cartoon Network was reporting weekly unemployment claims and even Snooki of Jersey Shore knew the monthly unemployment rate!
Since the election, jobs have barely been mentioned. To find the weekly unemployment claims you have to tune into a financial network. It's not front page news. The impact of Hurricane Sandy is now showing up in the numbers and the latest reports are terrible. For politicians, it is no longer important -- now that the election is behind us. However, for the millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans, the demand for jobs is still issue #1.
The new political buzzword is “fiscal cliff”. At the end of the year the Bush tax cuts and payroll tax holiday expires, automatic spending cuts will be implemented, and the debt ceiling raised into the gazillions. The CBO says the cliff will put the country back into recession. Not good news for the folks looking into their own financial abyss. To help understand the threat and come up with crisis worthy ideas, President Obama
scheduled a week of meetings with key leaders including Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton?
Sharpton is a well-known civil rights/social justice activist. Most did not know of his economic acumen. He has protested on Wall Street, but who knew he was steeped in calculus used to formulate complex financial instruments? Sharpton was not the only unusual choice
of economic advisor to counsel President Obama. The heads of the NAACP, AARP, and other social activist groups were invited.
Also welcome at the talks were the leaders of labor and public works unions. These leaders were an odd choice. Unions specialize in workers’ rights--not so much on profit and loss statements. The first meeting of the week was with the CEOs of major firms: IBM, HP, GE, and other companies from the Wall Street alphabet soup. Most of these companies are showing profits and increased market value due mainly to employee layoffs numbering
in the thousands. Was the creation of new private sector jobs even on the table?
There is an answer to the problem that will eliminate the need for tax rate hikes. It will make it easier to pay for all of government and associated debt. The answer – jobs, jobs, jobs!
And who are the real job creators? Is it Al Sharpton and other activists? Is it the Unions? Is it the big Wall Street companies? It is easy to get lost in the fog of politics; but no one denies the reality that small business is the best engine for job creation. Two thirds of Americans work for small businesses. It is sad that they were not part of the financial summit. The Chamber of Commerce was not there. No small business
owners or the heads of small Business associations were invited.
Intentionally or unintentionally, Obama’s meetings were anti-small business. Wall Street companies will buy the small guys out if they get too close to their markets. Or their fat cat friends in Washington can just change the rules to make it harder for the small company to win. Unions simply have no interest in the smaller businesses since they rarely unionize.
People pine for the good old Clinton era days with a smokin’ economy and budget surplus. But it wasn't Clinton that created jobs. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others with an idea for a product or service were starting businesses in their garages on borrowed money from their parents. It was people like Michael Dell selling computers from the trunk of his car and growing into a business powerhouse. Think of the millions hired and the millionaires created by these and other entrepreneurs!
America needs more of these men and women before the call for jobs, jobs, jobs becomes nothing more than a sad, fading echo.