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At President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Where’s ‘Profit?’

By | Economy, Regulations | No Comments

President Obama gave opening remarks Thursday at the first meeting of his newly appointed President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The White House Blog posts excerpts and photos, and here’s the transcript. Excerpt:

The economy is now growing.  In many sectors we’re seeing recovery.  But the biggest challenge that we’re seeing right now is the fact that unemployment is still way too high all across the country.  And so what we wanted to do was retool.

It’s critical for us to have input from folks who are actually hiring, putting people to work, making payroll, making the products and services that make our economy so powerful.  But we want to make sure that we narrowed the focus to think about how do we ensure, A, that we’re putting people to work right now, but also how do we lay the foundation for us to win the future over the long term.

This is obviously a theme that I talked about during the State of the Union.  It is my belief that we have all the pieces in place for us to make sure that the 21st century is the American Century just like the 20th was.  But we’re going to have to up our game in this newly competitive world.  And that means that we’ve got to out-educate every other country in the world.  We’re going to have to out-innovate every country in the world.  We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the best infrastructure to move people and goods and services throughout the economy.

I want us to be an economy that is not simply buying from other people and borrowing to do it.  I want us to be selling to other people and having some other folks owe us some money.  And so it is going to be absolutely critical for us during a period of significant fiscal constraint that we create the kind of public/private partnership that makes that happen.  And it’s going to be very important for us to get ideas from people who’ve actually — are actually on the ground right now, trying to build your businesses and operate in a extraordinarily competitive world.

Good remarks. But you know what word is missing?


It’s profit that makes hiring possible, drives success in an extraordinarily competitive world.

Do a word search at the White House website for “profit.” The word does turn up, but mostly in bios and references to “non-profit” — or even an implicit knock on the oil companies for “making huge profits.

President Obama has reached out to and even embraced business in recent months. But an embrace of business without an explicit endorsement of their ability to make a profit seems awfully hollow.