The president's Jobs Council is “MIA,” according to Politico.
“President Barack Obama's Jobs Council hasn't met publicly for six months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election,” Politico reported last week. “At this point, the hiatus — which reached the half-year mark Tuesday — might be less awkward than an official meeting, given the hornet's nest of issues that could sting Obama and the council members if the private-sector panel gets together.”
Politico points out that some members of the “bipartisan” council have declined to endorse Obama, and that could make things “awkward.”
“To cap it all off, several of the companies whose CEOs serve on the panel are involved to some extent in outsourcing — a fact that could undercut the ferocious attack Obama and his campaign are mounting on Romney over his alleged ties to the practice,” it observed. “One former administration official said the current political atmosphere could be prompting the CEOs and other business leaders to lie low.”
But you know what? That's just fine.
It's tempting for Republicans to pounce on this juicy bit of irony, but show some restraint, please. This is one of the many — many — instances in which Washington inaction is, in fact, better than Washington action.
Because seriously, what could the Jobs Council do about the issue?
At best, the Jobs Council — made up, as Cato noted, of capable business leaders — could advise Obama about the true nature of entrepreneurship, of individual risk and reward, and the factors that go into private sector decisions about hiring. He certainly seems to struggle with that concept.
But at worst, the council could presume to act as some kind of central planning committee.
We know how that works out.
“President Obama… believes this jobs council holds the capacity to gain sufficient knowledge to help guide capital investments and encourage job creation in the areas they identify,” Cato added. “Instead of having our president and a few smart individuals making decisions with limited information, we could allow the market mechanism, made up of millions of individual decision markers, to transmit the information and knowledge necessary for market actors to guide capital appropriately.”
This goes back to a central principle Republicans should keep in mind — but often fail to: Gridlock is good.
As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says, “Unless Americans can appreciate that and learn to love the separation of powers, which means learning to love the gridlock which the Framers believed would be the main protector of minorities, (we lose) the main protection. If a bill is about to pass that really comes down hard on some minority (and) they think it's terribly unfair, it doesn't take much to throw a monkey wrench into this complex system. Americans should appreciate that; they should learn to love the gridlock.
It's there so the legislation that does get out is good legislation.”
In most cases, the less that Washington does, the better. That's certainly true in this case.
So the Jobs Council is missing in action. Let's not send out the search parties just yet.