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September 12th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #966 'Having faith in the job market'

Reporter's Note: President Obama continues to call for more job creation. Oddly enough he has never called for another letter from me…and yet here is one, just the same.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, here we are with another new week on our hands! What do you know? I trust your weekend went well enough amid all the various events which seem to always engulf any president.

I have been thinking a lot about this quest of yours (and every candidate out there, to be frank) to create jobs, and it occurs to me, you really have very limited ways in which you can do that.

Sure, you can flat out pay government money for people to build things or provide services, but under the deficit mania sweeping DC, that will only go so far. You’ll create some work, the bills will pile up, and “Bob’s your uncle” the deficit hawks will swoop down and close shop.

No, what you can most do is simply set up favorable circumstances in which others might create jobs. You can make it somewhat more attractive for employers to open new positions. You can offer ways to train or retrain prospective workers. You can tilt the trade table to spur markets a bit. But in the end, private sector folks will have to create most of the jobs that we need so badly. And beyond the measures that you’ve suggested to spur their efforts, I think they need one thing more: Faith.

Everywhere I go, I keep hearing business types say something along the lines of, “Oh, I could add a couple of positions, but the whole situation with the economy, and Washington, seems so uncertain…I’m just going to keep squeaking by with what I have until things settle down.” So they don’t hire any extra workers, that makes DC even more desperate, and the nasty cycle goes on and on.

So I think if you could find a way, amid all your travels, to address those concerns you might find it helpful. If you can convey to all those small business people not merely that you will help them, but that they can truly rely on that help to continue…to be firm in many tough months ahead…that, I suspect might make some of them move off of the dime and consider doing what you really want.

Anyway, happy Monday. Call if you have a moment.

Regards,

Tom