The debt ceiling debate has come to a merciful (if not ideal)come to an end. What is President Obama to do now? Why, pivot to jobs ofcourse.
Sadly, it didn’ttake a crack political mind, insider sources, or ESP to figure out what theWhite House was planning, you just have to look at history. A pivot to jobcreation has become Democrats go-to move. In fact, Ben Smith of Politico has identifiedat least six-other times that the Obama Administration has announced a similarshift.
Despite all the claims of a “laser-likefocus” on jobs, the White House has never actually gotten around to it. Instead,apparently unable to walk and chew gum at the same time, he is consistentlysidetracked by other things. But after more than two years and seven pivotsAmericans should begin to wonder whether it is truly an inability to multitaskor whether it is simply that the Obama Administration has no idea how topromote job creation in the first place. It is almost as if he opened hisKeynesian bag of tricks to discover it contained only one trick – stimulus.
So while the Administration pivots themselvesin circles, here are several actions that Washington could pursue to create theenvironment needed for job growth:
- Reducethe regulatory burden on businesses. The Code of Federal Regulations is over163,000 pages and the Administration has tacked on another 600+ this monthalone. The regulatory tidal wave is only predicted to grow as myriad rules arehanded down as a result of the health care reform bill and Dodd-Frank. A quicksolution would be to pass the Regulations from the Executive in Need ofScrutiny (REINS) Act which would require Congress to take an up-or-down vote onall proposed rules that would have an annual economic impact of $100 million ormore.
- Ratifythe pending free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea withoutmaking it conditional upon continuation of the Trade Adjustment Assistanceprogram. Free trade agreements have contributed to America’s place as the world’slargest exporter. Although the 17 nations covered under our current FTAsrepresent only 7.5 percent of the world’s non-U.S. gross GDP, they purchase 40percent of U.S. exports. Passage of further free trade agreements would providea further boost to U.S. manufacturers, through reduced tariffs, and taxpayers,in lower priced goods – both of which would help to jumpstart our sluggishrecovery.
- Completeapproval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. This could be accomplished by Senate passageof HR 1938 (it already sailed through the House), which would expedite a finaldecision on the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipelinewould create an estimated 343,000 American jobs as well as provide anadditional 500,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada – our largest and moststable supplier.
- Encouragesafe and responsible domestic energy development. Government inaction andbureaucratic obstructionism has left the approval process for offshore leasesales at a standstill. The implicit “permitorium” has forced rigs to leave ourwaters, energy exploration to dramatically slow, and investment to flow toother countries. House Republicans have passed multiple pieces of legislation includingH.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231, to loosen the government’s stranglehold onAmerica’s expansive oil and natural gas deposits. The Senate should movequickly to pass these bills.
- Supporta repatriation holiday. America’s sky-high corporate tax rate coupled with itsoutdated use of a worldwide tax system places U.S. businesses at a competitivedisadvantage. Although fundamental reform of our corporate tax structure shouldbe on the top of Washington’s to-do list, a repatriation holiday, such as thatoffered by H.R. 1834 would provide an immediate lift to businesses. The bill,which would allow companies to bring back foreign earnings at a lower tax rate,would allow companies to reduce debt, increase investment, and create jobs.
These few simple ideas, many of which have already passed theHouse of Representatives, would provide an immediate spark to our economy. Ifonly the Obama Administration would stop pivoting and start focusing on suchpolicies perhaps America could escape its prolonged economic malaise.