|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
While liberals are calling for ambitious job-creating measures along the lines of the New Deal and Republicans want to scale back government spending programs, Mr. Obama talked at the White House on Thursday of limited programs that he suggested could provide substantial bang for the buck when it comes to job creation. Among them was the weatherization program.
Called “cash for caulkers,” it would enlist contractors and home-improvement companies like Home Depot — whose chief executive was on the panel — to advertise the benefits, much as car dealers did for the clunkers trade-ins this year.
Mr. Obama told the chief executives that he wanted to know: “What’s holding back business investment and how we can increase confidence and spur hiring? And if there are things that we’re doing here in Washington that are inhibiting you, then we want to know about it.”
He got a blunt answer from Fred P. Lampropoulos, founder and chief of Merit Medical Systems Inc., a medical device manufacturer in the Salt Lake City area. Mr. Lampropoulos said some in his discussion group agreed that businesses were uncertain about investment because “there’s such an aggressive legislative agenda that businesspeople don’t really know what they ought to do.” That uncertainty, he added, “is really what’s holding back the jobs.”
The president acknowledged, “This is a legitimate concern,” one that he and his advisers had discussed before he took office.
But Mr. Obama said he had decided that “if we keep on putting off tough decisions about health care, about energy, about education, we’ll never get to the point where there’s a lot of appetite for that.”
The argument that Democrats’ ambitions are unnerving business is one that Republicans have been making lately, and it was prominent Thursday when House Republican leaders held a competing round table on jobs with conservative economists.
He said the government can start by aiming for a balanced budget each year, develop more domestic energy sources and lower or eliminate a number of taxes he said hurt smaller businesses and prevent them from adding positions.
"If you're an entrepreneur, you're going to be able to find the money" if the government isn't sucking it up, the former congressman said.
Gingrich spoke to a receptive crowd, which often cheered as he made his points.
He told jokes and quoted from authors George Orwell and Albert Camus in describing his view of the government's negative effect on job growth.
His tax ideas include a two-year, 50 percent reduction in Social Security and Medicare taxes, lowering the capital gains rate to 0 percent, eliminating the estate tax and lowering corporate taxes.