Will Obama's CEO Summit Produce Jobs?

Commentators are less than sanguine

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Wednesday, the President will sit down with about 20 CEOs of top companies like Google and American Express. The Obama administration has had to combat charges over the last several months of being anti-business in its economic policies. In this meeting, however, the attendees will discuss issues such as a tax code overhaul, export promotion, education reform, government regulation, and deficit reduction, with the recently announced tax deal and revised South Korea free-trade agreement--both of which enjoy support in the business community--as backdrop to negotiations.

The administration, in an effort to stimulate the economy, wants U.S. companies to funnel some of the $1.93 trillion in cash and other liquid assets in their treasuries into expansion and hiring, The Wall Street Journal reports. Yet businesses are wary of making these investments in part because of uncertainty over taxes and regulations stemming from health-care reform, financial regulation, and other policies.

While there are signs that the relationship between the White House and the business community is on the mend, a number of pundits are skeptical about the summit's chances of success:

  • Obama's Comments Will Fall on Deaf Ears, predicts Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St. "The president will not get large companies to do what shareholders and critics of cash-heavy corporate balance sheets have not been able to do," McIntyre says. Some large companies are using their cash to make acquisitions, increase dividends, or repurchase stock, but these activities are not benefiting the larger economy. The companies attending the CEO summit have already decided that the investments the administration is advocating "will do them no good, even if they might help the solve the president’s problem."
  • Unless the President Grasps How Job Creation Works, contends Jim Cramer at MSN. "I just don't know, ideologically, whether Obama can accept the idea that hiring is a byproduct of CEOs trying to make a lot of money for themselves and for their shareholders," Cramer says, adding that Obama "seems to think that the process of making a profit may actually be wrong because it doesn't necessarily help labor."
  • The Summit Won't Result In Job Creation, claims AMERICAblog's Chris in Paris: "When you look at the outrageously high annual income of these business leaders, does anyone honestly believe they have any idea what their workers are facing in this environment? These are the people who often profit from firing thousands of workers, so what's in their best (financial) interest is hardly in line with what's good for the US or employees."
  • The Summit Itself Is Pathetic, argues masaccio at Firedoglake: "The most powerful country on the planet cannot do anything itself. It outsources everything, including job creation."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.