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Transition 2012

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Economy Update: Obama’s Job Council Under Scrutiny

by Newsteam Staff
July 19, 2012

Workers construct a home in Joplin, Missouri May 16, 2012 (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters). Workers construct a home in Joplin, Missouri May 16, 2012 (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters).


GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned in Ohio this week (AP) stressing that he will have a more jobs and business friendly approach than his rival President Barack Obama, a message that may garner more attention following a report about the president’s jobs panel.

A Politico report that found the Obama administration’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness hasn’t met publicly for six months. Created to provide nonpartisan advice to the president on strengthening the U.S. economy, ensuring U.S. competitiveness, and ways to create jobs, the last official meeting of the White House’s jobs panel took place January 17, Politico‘s Josh Gerstein writes. The meeting was tense, according to Politico, with disagreements among the twenty-six members over tax recommendations and labor policy, and no further meetings seem to be on horizon.

The news has received much attention on the campaign trail and, as the Wall Street Journal notes,  the “disconnect arises” as business and jobs have become a focus of the campaign.

“The president is seeking to paint his opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, as someone who puts business interests ahead of the middle class,” writes the Journal’s Carol E. Lee and John D. McKinnon. “Mr. Romney, for his part, is stepping up his criticism of the president as anti-business. Mr. Obama had created advisory groups such as the Jobs Council, in part to inoculate himself against such labels.”

Meanwhile, Romney and Republican supporters doubled down on his jobs message in Ohio and criticized the president (Politico) for focusing more on the campaign than job creation but some analysts are critical of Romney’s jobs plan as well.

“[Romney’s] best-known idea is cutting taxes. But there is no way to specify how many jobs that will create,”  writes Juan Williams in The Hill.

For more on the candidates’ stances, check this issue tracker on The Candidates and the Economy.

Suggested Other Reading:

The Brooking’s Institution’s Isabel V. Sawhill writes that reviving U.S. economic prosperity and “the American dream” will require infrastructure spending and low taxes (at least for businesses and the middle class) to reduce unemployment in the short-term and reducing the federal deficit for the longer term.

CFR’s A. Michael Spence considers impediments to growth in both advanced and developing nations in diagnosing the struggling global economy. “Government can, of course, bridge the gap via deficit spending (preferably focused on employment-generating investment that enhances future growth),” he says. “But the advanced countries are, to varying degrees, fiscally constrained by relatively high and rising public debt, largely owing to fiscal imbalances that were hidden from view until defective growth models broke down in the crisis of 2008.”

–Contributing Editor Gayle Putrich and Senior Editor Toni Johnson

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