December 3rd, 2009
07:27 AM ET

Dear President Obama #318: Behold! The jobs summit!

Reporter's Note: President Obama is hosting a jobs summit as the White House today. Uh, but don’t bother trying to drop off your resume. I don’t think it’s that kind of meeting.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

With all respect to the seriousness of your concerns about health care, and the climate, and Afghanistan, I must say it is a relief to see you are holding a forum at the White House today about jobs. As my mother said when I moved out of the house, “About time!”

This employment situation (or at least the “un” part) is one of those structural problems that will undermine everything else you want to do until you get it under control. It’s kind of like a bass player in a band. As long as he is doing everything right, nobody notices him; but if he starts screwing up, it ruins the whole gig. And if he doesn’t pitch in to pay for the pizza, he’s definitely out of the group. Remind me to tell you some good bass player jokes when you call…

In any event, no doubt you’ve noticed protests around the country over jobs, and you’ve heard the rumbles among some of your fellow Dems about organizing a march on Washington. It seems to me that organizing a job fair would be more useful and could send the same message; after all, how the heck do you fill out a job application while marching down the street holding a sign? Maybe each protestor can use the person in front of him or her as a desk. You can send Biden out to hand out pens.

Still, I understand the frustration of folks who don’t much care for you taking on so many other issues while this one remains unresolved. When the house is on fire, it’s easy to get annoyed with the guy talking about new curtains for the kitchen. Of course, I suspect you may take a couple of complaint calls over even what you are doing. Let’s see…the first event of this White House jobs summit starts at 1:20 pm and the last one begins at 3:45 pm. A short, half-day to address the single most explosive issue in the economy and politics. Is it just me, or does that seem a tad skimpy?

To be fair, I’m not precisely sure what you can or should do to solve the jobs problems. As you know, I’ve argued often enough that presidents generally do not have the kind of impact on the economy that they imagine, and should get neither as much blame nor as much credit as they do over financial matters. And in all honesty, I am rarely convinced that “summits” or “forums” produce much of anything other than a little positive press coverage. “OK, everyone look serious and thoughtful. Remember, we’re re-employing America here!”

But good luck with it anyway. Here’s an idea: How about arranging a surprise for some of the unemployed folks in the crowd; something like your pal Oprah might do? Sure! You could give away, oh say, a half dozen jobs in the White House. I’m thinking something in the Social office…ha!

Call if you can amid all the meetings. Although I have a job, I also usually have time to talk to big newsmaker types. Oh wait…that is my job.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Amazing

    Invite Mitt Romney, he has some common sense ideas that WILL work. Bite the bullet and listen to reality, not your left wing base that only understands Unions.

    December 3, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  2. Enough

    Jobs summit......what a joke! Obama is clueless when it comes to jobs. How many REAL small business owners will be at his little summit. The key to job creation is small business. We don't need loans, we need business. Raising our taxes and placing extra burden to provide health care is a job killer. You take every dime out of our pocket and we have no money to expand or hire, nor would we want to with the new proposed policies. The Obama goal is to make 249,999.00 and keep your small business small, really small. Too bad Democrats don't understand anything to do with business.

    December 3, 2009 at 8:52 am |