Michael Barone

But it's hard to see what else his administration has done to address job losses that were already large when he took office and that are far larger now. The $787 billion stimulus package passed in February has undoubtedly prompted the creation of some jobs somewhere and has clearly saved the jobs of many members of the public employee unions that contributed so generously to Obama's campaigns.

As the reporting of my Washington Examiner colleagues has shown, the claims that the stimulus package has "created or saved" specific numbers of jobs posted on recovery.gov are as greatly exaggerated as the early obituaries of Mark Twain.

It's easy, in contrast, to spot the job-killing planks of the Obama platform. The prospect of higher taxes on high earners after the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010 is one. The surtax on high earners in the health care bill the House passed is another. The cap-and-trade bill passed by the House, which would increase the cost of energy to avert disasters predicted for 50 years hence, is another. With all this in prospect, why would people choose to make job-creating investments?

The numbers tell a discouraging story. The three-month moving average of jobs lost fell from 829,000 in January 2009 to 230,000 in June. That's the good news. But in the very months that the stimulus package was supposed to be taking effect, and at a time when the economy appears to have started growing again, movement has been in the other direction, with the three-month average of jobs lost rising to 589,000 in October.

That's bad news indeed, for the nation and for Democratic politicians. So here is a suggestion for the jobs summit. The president should put on again the bipartisan hat he wore during much of the campaign and embrace the proposal by some Republicans for a payroll tax holiday. Cutting our most regressive tax should appeal to Democrats. And it would immediately reduce the cost of job creation. Voting for health care legislation may or may not help incumbents. Voting for a payroll tax cut would.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM