In keeping with its top-down approach to the economy, the Obama White House is set to hold a day-long summit with the nation’s top CEOs while slapping higher taxes and job-killing mandates on small businesses, which create most new jobs in America. To be fair, President Obama has good reason to avoid a face-to-face confrontation with small business owners and operators right now. Until very recently, he fought to make them pay higher taxes next year – a position he still holds despite the framework announced last week to stop the job-killing tax hikes scheduled for January 1. What’s more, the nation’s largest small business association, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), has joined more than 20 states in a lawsuit to block the job-killing health care law, with all its burdensome fees and mandates. When will President Obama start listening to family-owned small businesses, acknowledge the uncertainty they face on account of his job-killing policies, and change course?
This is one of (at least) five reasons why the Obama White House’s latest summit gambit – which the White House doesn’t want you to call a ‘summit’ – won’t do a great deal of good. Here are four more:
- President Obama’s past attempts to reach out, make peace, or reset relations with the business community have proven fruitless. Just as it was with his numerous ill-fated attempts to sell the American people on the job-killing health care law, this is President Obama’s umpteenth attempt to make inroads with the business community. Last year, the White House developed an entire “outreach program” of “Presidential sessions and other Washington gatherings.” This January, the White House said the president would spend the year engaged in “aggressive outreach.” In July, the White House made “an extra effort to reach out to industry leaders.” By August, the president was engaged in a “charm offensive” that included “dramatic gestures.” None of it has worked.
- The Obama Administration wants employers to invest in creating jobs, but has taken no concrete steps to move away from its job-killing policies. The issue isn’t whether President Obama is accessible to business leaders, but rather whether he’s listening, and then acting, on their advice. Valerie Jarrett, the president’s liaision to the business community, says this week’s summit will involve ideas for “a balanced approach to regulations.” There’s nothing “balanced” about more than 200 bureaucrats dedicated to enforcing President Obama’s job-killing health care law taking over three floors of an office building in the Washington, DC area. (They were in “such a rush” to get started that taxpayers are paying “almost double the market rate” for the space.) The Obama Administration remains committed to upholding and enforcing ObamaCare despite record-low public support for the law.
- The White House’s ‘olive branches’ to the business community are more like twigs, really. The Obama Administration sees a potential easing of tensions with the business community in light of its proposed framework to stop all the job-killing tax hikes scheduled for January 1st. The White House has placated the professional Left, however, by making it clear that in two years, President Obama will fight for – and base an entire presidential campaign around – raising taxes on employers and entrepreneurs. President Obama’s team also sees movement on a free trade agreement with South Korea as another sign of its commitment to working with the business community. That’s all well and good, except the president has not pushed Congress to act on similar pacts with Colombia and Panama despite multiplepromises to do just that.
- President Obama has given no indication he has abandoned his commitment to the flawed notion that we can spend and borrow our way back to prosperity. He has dug in on his devotion to ‘stimulus’ spending, and signaled he will fight the new majority's efforts to cut spending in 2011, despite widespread recognition by Americans – affirmed by many economists - that the spending binge in Washington is hurting our nation's economy and hampering private sector efforts to create jobs.
A NEW WAY FORWARD. This has been another challenging year for our economy, and the outlook for 2011 has grown “more pessimistic” in recent weeks. Unemployment has risen closer to 10 percent, and last month’s budget deficit was the highest on record. Republicans have listened to family-owned small businesses, asked “where are the jobs?” on their behalf, and built a governing agenda focused on their concerns. The Pledge to America offers a clear plan to reduce the uncertainty small businesses are facing by stopping all job-killing tax hikes, reining in Washington’s red tape factory, and repealing the job-killing health care law. The Pledge also proposes cutting spending and reducing the size of government, a broad effort that includes cutting the cost of Congress, which Boehner discussed during his recent interview with 60 Minutes. This is a new way forward that hasn’t been tried in Washington – and come next month, the new majority in the House will be ready to put it to the test.