If there is one thing President Obama has proved great at it is convening councils. If there’s a second thing, it’s finding ways to work around their recommendations.
So it goes with President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness the group that succeeded the Economic Recovery Advisory Board in their mission to come up with policy solutions to guide the economy back to recovery. Hoping to avoid the Bowles-Simpson fate of being talked about in the nicest of terms only to be completely ignored by Obama, the Council has released its third report covering myriad ways the government can help spur job growth.
To nobody’s surprise two of the biggest hindrances listed by the Council were the United States’ high corporate tax rate and its immense regulatory burden
“At 39.2 percent, Americans statutory corporate tax rate – including taxes at the federal and state and local levels – is substantially higher than the average for other advanced nations,” the report states. “In addition, while the United States has long been a model for other nations when it comes to the sophistication of our regulatory process, in recent years we’ve slipped on some global rankings of business-friendliness, and such nations as Australia have outpaced us with impressive regulatory streamlinings credited with boosting economic growth.”
Fortunately the House has passed legislation to address each of these issues. The “Jobs Through Growth Act” would cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, largely by eliminating loopholes, and move us toward a territorial tax system on par with the rest of the world. Moreover, the House has passed the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which together would make the regulatory process more transparent and accountable and less of a burden on the economy.
Unfortunately, President Obama shows little indication that he is willing to get behind any of these solutions. Instead, Obama offered a thinly veiled attempt to shift the blame when none of the Council’s recommendations are followed through.
“I want you to know that obviously this year is an election year, and so getting Congress focused on some of these issues may be difficult,” the President said in introducing the report.
Translation: “I’m not going to do any of this.” Which kind of defeats the purpose of a jobs council doesn’t it? It’s a rhetorical question, but don’t tell Obama, no doubt he would convene a council to study the effectiveness of the job council’s findings.