If there is one thing President Obama has proved great at itis convening councils. If there’s a second thing, it’s finding ways to workaround their recommendations.
So it goes with President Obama’s Council on Jobs andCompetitiveness the group that succeeded the Economic Recovery Advisory Boardin their mission to come up with policy solutions to guide the economy back torecovery. Hoping to avoid the Bowles-Simpson fate of being talked about in thenicest of terms only to be completely ignored by Obama, the Council hasreleased its third report covering myriad ways the government can help spur jobgrowth.
To nobody’s surprise two of the biggest hindrances listed bythe Council were the United States’ high corporate tax rate and its immenseregulatory burden
“At 39.2 percent, Americans statutory corporate tax rate –including taxes at the federal and state and local levels – is substantiallyhigher than the average for other advanced nations,” the reportstates. “In addition, while the United States has long been a model for othernations when it comes to the sophistication of our regulatory process, inrecent years we’ve slipped on some global rankings of business-friendliness,and such nations as Australia have outpaced us with impressive regulatorystreamlinings credited with boosting economic growth.”
Fortunately the House has passed legislation to address eachof these issues. The “Jobs Through Growth Act” would cut the corporate tax rateto 25 percent, largely by eliminating loopholes, and move us toward aterritorial tax system on par with the rest of the world. Moreover, the Househas passed the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act and the Regulations fromthe Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which together would make the regulatoryprocess more transparent and accountable and less of a burden on the economy.
Unfortunately, President Obama shows little indication thathe is willing to get behind any of these solutions. Instead, Obama offered athinly veiled attempt to shift the blame when none of the Council’srecommendations are followed through.
“I want you to know that obviously this year is an electionyear, 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 kindof defeats the purpose of a jobs council doesn’t it? It’s a rhetoricalquestion, but don’t tell Obama, no doubt he would convene a council to studythe effectiveness of the job council’s findings.