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Another round of the U.S. Chamber vs. Obama

After getting heat from big business trade groups for being out of touch with corporate America, the White House has emphasized it wants input from businesses on how to create jobs and help companies grow. Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce obliges at a jobs summit.

The Chamber, one of Washington's largest lobbying groups, is hammering its case again this afternoon that new regulations coming from lawmakers are standing in the way of job growth. Why aren't companies hiring? The Chamber says a big factor is all the uncertainty surrounding new rules. They say the financial reform bill will trigger 533 rulemakings, 60 studies and 93 Congressional reports.

The Chamber's also citing a poll by the Lombardo Consulting Group of 300 small business owners who completed an online survey, showing that 57 percent feel the administration "does not have a clear plan for creating jobs." The Chamber also cited that 68 percent of those polled said new rules and are expanding government "far too much, resulting in a weaker U.S. economy and fewer jobs."

Meanwhile, the White House has its own take on jobs today with a report set to be unveiled at 11am estimating that the president's stimulus package from last year has saved or created 3 million jobs, according to analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

There's a great deal of debate over what's actually impeding companies from hiring more. Many economists cite broader uncertainty that goes well beyond anything happening in Washington. Companies aren't sure whether the economy can sustain a strong recovery. There's still some nervousness around securing credit from banks. And the bottom line is that consumer spending remains low, so there's not much incentive for companies to ramp up production quite yet.

The Chamber says that to dispel some of the uncertainty being created by Washington, lawmakers need to clarify what will happen to the Bush administration tax cuts set to expire this year and how regulators and agencies will implement new rules regarding health care and Wall Street.

As a bit of background, there's nothing new about the tension between the White House and the Chamber. The White House has leaned more toward dealing directly with CEOs -- inviting them over for intimate meals, appointing them to various councils -- rather than working through usual channels like the Chamber.

By Jia Lynn Yang  |  July 14, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Financial regulation , Job creation , U.S. Chamber of Commerce  
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Next: Departing Business Roundtable chief leaves White House relations up in the air


Given that exports are up, company's are full with cash, profits are up, the GDP is rising, the Dow is up over 10k and rising (over 20% growth from 2008 low), and money costs are at record lows (basically free from the Fed), when will the Chamber and big business just admit that we are witnessing a jobless recovery. There are no plans on additional hiring for now because business has found a new way to get more out of the worker.

People are doing more and more these days themselves. Workers are expected to do 2 jobs for the price of one and they have no recourse on the matter. For every job, there is a line of people waiting to fill it. All qualified and eager to take up the space. Companies have all the leverage.

So business has never had it so good, but you will never hear them admit it. They claim that there is too much uncertainty.

The reality is that jobs will only come again when there is consumer spending to warrant it. Its a catch 22. No jobs means no new consumer spending on appliances, houses, cars, retail, etc.. No new spending means no new jobs. The government is not preventing any hiring - everyone and every business is.

Posted by: pdt278 | July 14, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Any fair examination of Obama's policies during the 18 months of his presidency will confirm that he is a pro-free-enterprise thinker who looks for a free-market solution to problems before considering government intervention. What he is not is a person who believes in no regulation. He believes that business and respective industries need effective oversight to protect against abuses and to protect the average consumer. He saw what happened in the financial/banking and real estate industries when deregulation led to wild speculation, unchecked greed, and an unsustainable bubble that, when popped, led to the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. And so his administration has pushed for effective (re-) regulation of these businesses, and very correctly too. One of the worst distortions that has happened in our economy over the last 2-3 decades has been its "overfinancialization," with the (increasing speculative and greed-driven) financial sector tail wagging the dog of the overall economy. But this does not make Obama "antibusiness" or any of the other accusations that Donohue, et al. are flinging at him now. In fact, the WP just today reported that the Obama Adm. is looking for private enterprise solutions to questions about public housing.

Posted by: mbrachman | July 14, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The business community is manufacturing its own uncertainty, by failing to recognize that the cost of labor is an investment in the funding of demand. Productivity gains that result in the spread of poverty impose direct constraints on demand, and reduce business growth; outsourcing of manufacturing jobs imposes poverty on a broad swath of the American population, and diminishes business activity in America, while stimulating the Chinese economy.

The business community is pointing the finger of blame at the government to divert accountability for the consequences of their own practices.

Bad faith is the prevailing business American model.

Posted by: lonquest | July 14, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

For more on the Chambers' political motivations (and as possible explanation for the WH resistance) it's worth reading this Rolling Stone article by Tim Dickerson:

Posted by: tkarr | July 14, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Let me explain how the marketplace works. If there is demand for more sprockets, yet I am not creating more sprockets because I have "broad uncertainty" over whether I am to pay another percent in taxes or so, my competitors will step in, create more sprockets, and the result will be a drop in my marketshare.
The whole "uncertainty" over taxes, regulation, etc. is a crock and everyone knows it. It is just something wingnuts say because they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes.

Posted by: flounder2 | July 14, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It's such a shame the Chamber of Commerce is working so hard to turn the public against the administration with "anti-business" rhetoric, when it simply isn't true. The Chamber should want what's best for America and business growth will follow. They spend more money trying to force Obama's failure with their constant ads and articles painting gloom and doom than they do on trying to help their members in a constructive way.

Posted by: beaone | July 14, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"...the White House has emphasized it wants input from businesses on how to create jobs and help companies grow."

Obama's reckless. How else to describe his actions way back in Jan, '09 when he delegated the "worst crisis since the GD" to his laughable libs in Congress to come up with the "stimulus" package?

NOW he invites business leaders? After wasting a year on his healthcare (as his own adviser admitted)?

Despite being bright, etc., he's clueless; not a leader; more like a charlatan.

Posted by: crumppie | July 14, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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