Here's the opening of a long, sad article, Obama's Jobs Search, in the New York Times Magazine about how, despite all the economic geniuses in the Obama Administration, nobody can think of anything meaningful to do about unemployment:
Three days before Christmas, President Obama gathered his economic team in the West Wing’s Roosevelt Room to review themes for his State of the Union address. The edge-of-the-cliff crisis he inherited had passed, but with more than 14 million Americans still out of work, he was looking for bold ways to bring down unemployment. The ideas presented to him, though, seemed familiar and uninspired. “You know, guys,” he said, according to someone in the room, “I’ve told you before, I want you to come to me with ideas that excite me.” Nothing he was hearing excited him.
Let me repeat an idea of mine from November about how Obama could boldly lower the cost of hiring Americans. It certainly won't excite Obama, but it is one thing he could actually do politically -- and, in fact, is the one thing he has the personal expertise to do in a week -- that would give a jolt to hiring:
Obama should declare victory in the half-century old War on Discrimination—which Ed Rubenstein of VDARE.COM recently estimated costs 8 percent of a year’s GDP, or over a trillion dollars. ... Hiring legally unprotected whites is dangerous because that accumulates statistical evidence of disparate impact discrimination. But hiring legally protected minorities is a legal minefield because of the potential costs of discrimination lawsuits if they don’t work out and have to be let go. (A friend who owns a small business explains: “If I can’t afford to fire them, I can’t afford to hire them.”
Not surprisingly, firms have been slow to hire American citizens, who can get them in trouble with the Feds. Employers have been using the recession to outsource work to Asia or to hire illegal immigrants off the books. It makes more sense to work a few official employees long and hard than to hire many.
To rectify this, Obama could announce that his election as President shows that the civil rights war is over and it’s time to reap the peace dividend: the federal government can dramatically cut back its persecutions of employers for hiring the wrong people.
Nothing the President could do with a stroke of his pen would do more to cut unemployment by making it legally safer to hire Americans than Obama announcing that, between now and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in 2014, he will lay off most of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission bureaucrats and other federal racial inquisitors.
And the business climate would be immediately improved by Obama abolishing the EEOC’s innumerate “Four Fifths Rule.”
Similarly, Obama could order the Justice Department to switch sides in the Bush Administration’s egregious Vulcan Society disparate impact lawsuit.
Are you expecting to hear any better ideas from Obama? From the GOP?