President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness hasn’t held an official meeting since Jan. 17, despite continued weakness in the labor market.
The unemployment rate stood at 8.2 percent in June, and the economy gained only 100,000 jobs last month.
But Obama and council members, who are in the private sector, may actually be better off with the panel lying dormant, Politico
reports. Some of the prominent business people may be reluctant to appear tied to the president during an election campaign, especially the businessmen who oppose him.
In addition, the companies led by some council members are involved with outsourcing. Obama has recently attacked that policy, as he seeks to tie his Republican opponent Mitt Romney to it.
Council members would prefer to operate in an apolitical environment, a former Obama administration official told Politico. “The thing is supposed to be bipartisan, so a lot of times they don’t want to get into things that could be used by either side in the election,” this person said. “The businesspeople, for the most part, don’t want to get into the middle of political fighting.”
On Obama’s side, he has rejected some of their recommendations, and a public airing of that disagreement wouldn’t be helpful for him. That’s especially true given that Romney is more sympathetic to their views.
The president formed the council in January 2011, as he sought to repair his damaged relationship with the business sector and to show his commitment to address the country’s unemployment epidemic. General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt heads the group.
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