Obama's job summit didn't get to the main issue

If Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke can get what it takes to dig America out of the recession, why can't President Obama?

"Jobs are the issue right now," Bernanke said Thursday at a hearing on his confirmation for a second term, according to the New York Times.

Creating jobs is the solution, and Obama's jobs summit on Thursday didn't come out with any solid help for the jobless other than affirmation that the "cash for caulkers" program is moving forward to help people weatherize their homes.

That's a start, but is the caulking program the best idea the president has to implement immediately?

Last week I wrote about the need for a solar Works Progress Administration as a way for the federal government to get people back to work fast by installing solar power across the country.

Immediate and long-term jobs are what's needed to drop unemployment, which fell to 10% in November. But it's still the highest unemployment rate in 26 years, and anyone who has been without a job since the recession began two years ago doesn't want to hear about how it's up to the private sector to create jobs.

Businesses won't create jobs until they see business opportunities on the horizon and that the economy is improving. If the country doesn't have a policy to install solar power everywhere, then solar companies won't have as much incentive to ramp up because they don't see the need.

"I want to be clear," Obama said at his jobs summit, according to the Times. "While I believe the government has a critical role in creating the conditions for economic growth, ultimately true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector."

That's true as far as long-term growth, but with 15.4 million people out of work, finding jobs now is more of a priority than waiting years for companies to grow. It typically takes a few years after a recession for jobs to return. The government needs to stimulate growth immediately if it wants to help the unemployed.

I understand that the government has limited resources, and that much of its money is going to the war, but the problems at home are simple to solve if people can get back to work.

Bernanke, who was fighting for his job, gets it. It's about jobs.

"It really is the biggest challenge, the most difficult problem that we face right now," he told Congress.

Amen. Ring the bell, Bernanke. Ring it loud.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area who can be found at www.AaronCrowe.net
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