Daley Pick Shows President Wooing Business, Kind of, Maybe

By January 7, 2011Economy, Trade

There are sure a lot of conflicting messaging and signals flying around the media and blogs about the President’s selection of William Daley as the next White House Chief of Staff. We associate ourselves with Larry Kudlow, who at National Review Online’s The Corner blog finds, “Good Daley News“:

President Obama marks another milestone in his post-election move to the center by appointing pro-business Democrat William E. Daley to the powerful post of White House chief of staff. If there are any doubts that Obama wants to repair his business-bashing image, this should dispel them. It’s an excellent appointment.

Solid cover story with good detail in today’s Wall Street Journal, “President Revs Up Campaign to Make Peace With Business“: 

Mr. Obama has compelling reasons to repair relations with corporate America. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. There’s little likelihood of significant new stimulus spending from Congress or big new moves by the Federal Reserve to pump money into the economy. 

That means the key to economic growth—and Mr. Obama’s re-election prospects—could lie in corporate treasuries. U.S. non-financial businesses are sitting on nearly $2 trillion in cash and liquid assets, the most since World War II, and Mr. Obama wants them to use it to create more U.S. jobs. 

The Journal also reports that the President intends to bring former union official Ron Bloom, his “manufacturing czar,” into the White House for “a beefed-up manufacturing policy role.” Well, OK. If it’s beefing up they want, Bloom can start by directing the White House’s coordinated effort to enact the pending U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea, immediately followed by an aggressive push for the Colombia and Panama FTAs. 

Interesting focus on Daley and innovation policy in this “Science Insider” piece, “Obama’s New Chief of Staff Backs Industrial Policy as Key to Innovation“:�

[Last] month, during a discussion at a Washington think tank, Daley wasn’t shy about describing what’s wrong with current policies and what needs to be done. 

“Unless you’ve been in the government, you can’t understand how screwed up it is [on this topic],” Daley told his 1 December audience at a panel on U.S. innovation policy put on by the Center for American Progress. Looking at the sprawling department he headed from 1997 to 2000, he asserted that “there is a great need to move the boxes around; … there has to be some reorganization around these issues.” 

Better an aggressive policy agenda in terms of reduced regulation and expanded trade than box-moving, we think. 

MSNBC reports, “Watchdogs concerned about Daley appointment.” By “watch dogs,” the piece really means “liberal activist groups that support expanded government control over the economy and are generally quite hostile to business.” But that’s too long of  a phrase for a headline.

CBS News, “White House Hits Back At Liberal Critics of Bill Daley,” based on an interview with departing Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: 

Gibbs said that Daley’s big role in the White House will not significantly change the president’s position on business issues. (Critics will focus on the word “significantly” – a very large caveat.) I asked Gibbs if the president will still refer to Wall Street executives as “fat cats.” “When it’s appropriate” he responded. He also disputed the notion that the president is “anti-business.” 

Huh. So, President woos business by appointing a new chief of staff but the President won’t change his positions on business? Good thing Kudlow has your back, Gibbs.

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