The "No Business" Obama Meeting on Jobs

Bill Tatro
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Posted: Jun 15, 2011 12:01 AM

On Monday, the great CEOs of industry traveled to Raleigh-Durham, NC to meet with President Obama. 

They could’ve had an ordinary conference call, and saved the taxpayers and shareholders (one-in-the-same) the expense. 

However, if it was just a practical conference call, there wouldn’t have been the dramatic theater of the “no-business meeting.” 

After the market crash of 1929, there became a technique known as the “no-business meeting.”  This is a meeting that included men of stature and significance, who by the very nature of the meeting itself, gave comfort to people that something was being done when in fact nothing was being done.. 

The no-business meeting carried an illusion of importance.  People, desperate after the 1929 crash, were seeking an answer to the country’s problems. 

Today is no different. 

Unfortunately, there really is no immediate solution to the jobs problem, other than letting the business cycle run its course. 

When asked about the “shovel-ready jobs” that Vice President Biden had promised, President Obama responded by saying that those jobs obviously weren’t so “shovel-ready.” 

Everyone laughed. 

The historic method of creating “make-work jobs” has failed once again, and now the “men of stature” were meeting to find another way. 

Creating tax credits for purchased bank machinery was another tactic employed over the past two years that resulted in the same failure as “shovel-ready.” 

No one wanted to purchase an unneeded machine for $100,000 in order to save $5,000 on their tax bill. 

 Likewise, nobody wanted to hire employees just to save on unemployment taxes. 

These types of techniques have been tried over and over again by many different administrations, only to come up short.

Letting the business cycle run its course means that failure must be an option.  From failure comes success, and success will ultimately produce jobs. 

Jeff Immelt (GE), chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, should be the guiding example. 

Focus not on the fact that GE currently avoids paying taxes, but rather on how GE was originally founded in 1892. 

Thomas Edison, a founding member of GE, failed thousands of times in his quest to invent the electric light bulb until success was finally reached. 

Just consider the millions of jobs that were ultimately created because of his hard work and perseverance. 

Had Edison been government subsidized for being wrong, he might not have achieved greatness. 

The business cycle has to be respected. 

If not, then the only thing that was accomplished in North Carolina was a nice lunch, an ordinary photo session, and a political sound bite.

It may not be 1929, but it was still a “no-business meeting.”


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