In the beginning of the year in January, President Obama created the President’s Council to help address the jobs issue when the unemployment rate in this country dropped down to a staggering 9.0 percent. Today, the unemployment rate is still low and there has yet to be a significant change in the job market to facilitate more jobs for Americans. On Tuesday, Obama met with his President’s Council to tackle the issues still faced today in a meeting they call the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
But it is important to pose the question, who exactly are the members of the President’s Council and do they really have American worker’s best interest at heart? An article from RT points out that most of the members of the Council are CEOs and other executives who have cut thousands of jobs from their own major corporations and at the same time managed to increase profits for themselves.
Let’s take a look at who a few of these members are. To start, the head of the Council is General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt. According to the RT article, the Institute for Policy Studies reported last year that Immelt laid off 3,568 employees during the recent recession and earned $5.58 million for himself. Even more disheartening was Obama’s reward to GE in the form of $210 stimulus funds as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Some have posed the question, “Is Immelt really the person we want heading the Council that is responsible for fixing the job market?” Other members of the council include Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts, American Express CEO Kenneth I. Chenault and executives from Centerbridge Partners, Pritzker Realty Group and UBS Americas. Roberts’ company Comcast is Obama’s top corporate source of contributions so far in his 2012 election. Centerbridge Partners, Pritzker Realty Group and UBS Americas have together contributed almost $3 million to Obama’s last and current presidential campaign. Furthermore, Chenault recently revealed his plans to cut 1,500 jobs at a North Carolina plant, marking it as one of the largest layoffs in the area in ages. To top all this off, Boeing’s Jim McNerney will also be helping Obama with the unemployment crisis even though Boeing recently announced that they would cut 1,100 jobs this year almost all from one location- all the while showing a 20 percent increase in profits.
Are these really the most qualified members for the job? If laying thousands of their own workers off was an easy task, how important are the job statuses of everyday Americans to them? In an article from the Los Angeles Times, Robert Reich, Labor secretary under Bill Clinton said, “Nobody should expect this group to come up with innovative ways of investing in the American workforce and generating not only more jobs but higher wages. That’s just not what these big companies do.”
The unemployment rate for the United States is still at 9.1 percent.