Obama's Jobs Council Closed Down After Only Four Meetings

The charter for President Barack Obama's jobs council, officially called the "President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness," expired Thursday. The White House said it would not renew the charter. The council only met four times, the last time in Jan. 2012.

The jobs council was formed in 2009 to advise Obama on ways to strengthen the economy. Unemployment was around 9 percent and a major concern when it was formed. Unemployment is now 7.8 percent, a number that both political parties agree is too high.

The council was comprised of 25 members from business and labor, including GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who chaired the council; AOL co-founder Steve Case; Boeing President Jim McNerney; Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons; Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The council made many recommendations to the president, including:

  • Make the government regulations process more open and transparent, and expand the use of advanced notices for proposed rules. (The Obama administration has actually reduced the public comment period for some proposed rules.)
  • Allow immigrants who receive an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math in the United States to stay here. (The U.S. Senate is currently working on immigration reform, which Obama supports, that would do that.)
  • Reform the corporate tax code by lowering the rates and eliminating tax preferences. (Obama supported this idea in his 2012 re-election campaign.)
  • Switch to a territorial tax system so that companies only pay taxes in the countries where their earnings are made. (Obama's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, supported this idea, but Obama does not.)
  • Transform the education system to one that better meets the needs of employers, including speeding the adoption of the Common Core standards.
  • And, expand production of fossil fuels and promote energy and fuel efficiency.

During the 2012 election, Obama was often criticized by Republicans for not meeting more often with his jobs council. They argued it was evidence that Obama did not take the problem of high unemployment seriously enough.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the economy shrank 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of FY2012. Democrats in the White House and Congress said the contraction was due to the House Republican's insistence on cuts to government spending to reduce the deficit.