December 3, 2009 12:15PM

Today’s White House ‘Jobs Summit’

Today’s Politico Arena asks:

The WH Jobs Summit: “A little less conversation? A little more action? ( please)”

My response:

Today’s White House “jobs summit” reflects little more, doubtless, than growing administration panic over the political implications of the unemployment picture. With the 2010 election season looming just ahead, and little prospect that unemployment numbers will soon improve, Democrats feel compelled to “do something” — reflecting their general belief that for nearly every problem there’s a government solution. Thus, this summit is heavily stacked with proponents of government action. This morning’s Wall Street Journal tells us, for example, that “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is proposing a plan that would extend jobless benefits, send billions in relief to the states, open up credit to small businesses, pour more into infrastructure projects, and bring throngs of new workers onto the federal payroll — at a cost of between $400 billion and $500 billion.” If Obama falls for that, we’ll be in this recession far beyond the 2010 elections.
The main reason we’re in this mess, after all, is because government — from the Fed’s easy money to the Community Reinvestment Act and the policies of Freddy and Fannie — encouraged what amounted to a giant Ponzi scheme. So what is the administration’s response to this irresponsible behavior? Why, it’s brainchilds like “cash for clunkers,” which cost taxpayers $24,000 for each car sold. Comedians can’t make this stuff up. It takes big‐​government thinkers.
Americans will start to find jobs not when government pays them to sweep streets or caulk their own homes but when small businesses get back on their feet. Yet that won’t happen as long as the kinds of taxes and national indebtedness that are inherent in such schemes as ObamaCare hang over our heads. Milton Friedman put it well: “No one spends someone else’s money as carefully as he spends his own.” Yet the very definition of Obamanomics is spending other people’s money. If he’s truly worried about the looming 2010 elections (and beyond), Mr. Obama should look to the editorial page of this morning’s Wall Street Journal, where he’ll read that in both Westchester and Nassau Counties in New York — New York! — Democratic county executives have just been thrown out of office, and the dominant reason is taxes. Two more on the unemployment rolls.