MSNBC is reporting that President Barack Obama is pushing for more private-sector hiring while seeking to protect his own job during a two-day domestic trip that aims to raise his political profile in two key states and with an important Hispanic constituency.
In North Carolina on Monday, the president will press for more jobs in targeted industries, including tourism and green energy sectors. Later in the day, he will attend three fundraisers in donor-rich Miami. He will end his travels Tuesday in Puerto Rico, a visit considered essential as he courts the Puerto Rican vote in the mainland, especially in Florida.
Obama will tour the Durham, N.C., plant of Cree, Inc., a maker of energy-efficient LED lighting. He will then discuss jobs initiatives with his jobs council, a panel headed by General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt.
In an opinion piece published Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Immelt and American Express CEO and chairman Ken Chenault laid out a series of jobs-council ideas to increase employment, including easing visa applications to attract more tourists and increasing energy efficiency in commercial buildings.
The two top executives also called for improved worker training, saying that employers can't fill more than 2 million jobs in part because workers don't have advanced manufacturing skills. They recommended cutting red tape to make it easier for contractors to obtain permits and for small businesses to obtain government-backed loans.
"America needs more growth," Immelt and Chenault wrote. "The United States needs to reverse trends that developed over a long period of time, and the solutions aren't easy politically, socially or economically."
Top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said that many of the council's proposals can be undertaken without taxpayer funds or congressional action. "We wanted to look at ways where the private sector could really carry the ball and create this long-term sustainable growth," Jarrett said.
The president has to do something about unemployment, because that is his Achilles heel in the upcoming election. It's hard to vote for someone as president when you've been out of work for years and there is nothing on the horizon. We won't even mention how demoralizing it is to have to fight tooth and nail for unemployment benefits that you earned.
Let's hope the president can motivate the private sector, which has received lots of government assistance, to give back to Americans in the form of jobs.
Read more at MSNBC.
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