Feds Jobs Program: The Cons

WASHINGTON -- The irony of holding a White House jobs summit just days before President Obama travels to Copenhagen to support a global pact that would devastate the U.S. economy apparently is lost on the Obama administration.

The point of the jobs summit, Obama says, is "bringing together people from all across the country -- business, labor, academics, non-for-profits, entrepreneurs, small and large businesses to explore how we can jumpstart ... hiring." Yet in Copenhagen, Obama will propose reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

17 percent below 2005 levels, a goal impossible to reach without killing jobs -- and lots of them.

This brings us to cap-and-trade, the president's domestic climate initiative. It passed the House this summer, and a similar bill is pending in the Senate. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the House version, if adopted, would cause annual job losses of about 1.15 million between 2012 and 2030, rising to almost 2.5 million by 2035.

Passage of cap-and-trade would be for nothing. Like the president's Copenhagen proposal, cap-and-trade would have a negligible impact on global temperature. Moreover, a new and burgeoning scandal involving e-mails and data from a major climate research center has thrown the entire global warming theory into doubt by raising the question: Was data manipulated to show a global warming trend that isn't there? Another Obama initiative that flies in the face of his professed desire to save and create jobs is his so-called health care "reform" plan or, more accurately, the various House and Senate plans the president has rhetorically supported. Each would kill jobs.

The president should drop any aspect of health-care reform that adds to the tax or regulatory burden. While some on his left would complain this would be politically safe, as an average of the major health-care polls collected on shows public sentiment running against these plans by 49.8 percent to 39.2 percent.

Here are a few other no-brainers for any government official who is serious about job creation, none of which require an expensive and typically fruitless government jobs program:

Permanently reduce top tax rates on individuals, small businesses and corporations by 10 percentage points, reduce the individual income tax rates to three levels no higher than 10, 15 and 25 percent and repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. The resulting increase in consumer spending would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the short term and millions over several years.

Unleashing domestic energy production would create jobs directly and indirectly, the latter by reducing business energy costs, leaving more capital for expansion and hiring. Permitting environmentally-safe oil drilling in a tiny part of Alaska's remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in select, carefully studied parts of the Outer Continental Shelf and in the Rockies would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Similarly, speeding up the permitting process -- which currently takes years -- for the building of new nuclear power plants would create jobs and emissions-free energy while contributing to energy independence.

Permanently repeal the estate tax. A 2009 study for the American Family Business Institute found this would create 1.5 million jobs.

Say NO to calls for a second "stimulus." Funds lent to the government for the first stimulus could have been lent to businesses to fund new equipment and other job-creating activities.

If the president is sincere about jumpstarting employment, he'll scuttle job-killing initiatives such as cap-and-trade and health-care "reform" and oppose unnecessary regulations and taxes that deter businesses from expanding and hiring. That's the best -- and only -- jobs program this country needs.

Deneen Borelli is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank.