All those pres­i­den­tial sum­mits aren’t help­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

We have been mer­ci­fully spared an­other “sem­i­nar pres­i­dent” since the pro­fes­so­rial hey­day of Pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter. Un­til now. Pres­i­dent Obama loves to con­vene “sum­mits” and shoot the pol­icy breeze with “ex­perts.” This would be fine, if he used th­ese ses­sions for ac­tual de­lib­er­a­tion.

In­stead, Mr. Obama uses them as pub­lic-re­la­tions con jobs to con­vince peo­ple he’s care­fully con­sid­er­ing all sides, when he’s al­ready made up his mind — usu­ally to go the most far-left, dis­as­trous route.

Lead­ing up to his “Jobs Sum­mit,” let’s con­sider the re­sults of four of Mr. Obama’s pre­vi­ous pol­icy sum­mits.

In late Fe­bru­ary, he held a “Fis­cal Re­spon­si­bil­ity Sum­mit.” It was a three-hour wonk-fest, the point of which was to “un­der­score how big the prob­lems are,” ac­cord­ing to one per­son fa­mil­iar with the pro­ceed­ings.

This sum­mit had been im­me­di­ately pre­ceded by the $787 bil­lion po­lit­i­cal-pay­off bill known as the eco­nomic “stim­u­lus.” Sold by Mr. Obama and his fel­low Democrats as the only way to pre­vent un­em­ploy­ment from sail­ing over 8 per­cent, they now for­get that in­con­ve­nient fact.

And since the “stim­u­lus” was a po­lit­i­cal act and not an eco­nomic one, dis­as­ters fol­lowed. The un­em­ploy­ment rate has soared to 10.2 per­cent, the un­der­em­ploy­ment rate has steamed ahead to nearly 18 per­cent, and mas­sive fraud and waste have been un­cov­ered.

Al­most $7 bil­lion has re­port­edly gone to 440 con­gres­sional dis­tricts that do not ex­ist, while Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Bi­den Jr., who was sup­posed to be mon­i­tor­ing stim­u­lus money, was caught flat-footed. He was shocked — shocked! — to learn of gam­bling in Casablanca.

The “Fis­cal Re­spon­si­bil­ity Sum­mit” was also fol­lowed by hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in ad­di­tional bailouts of the auto, fi­nan­cial, in­sur­ance and mort­gage in­dus­tries; a $500 bil­lion om­nibus spending bill; a $3.5 tril­lion bud­get; a record $1.4 tril­lion deficit; an un­prece­dented smash­ing of the $12 tril­lion na­tional debt ceil­ing; House ap­proval of a cap-and­trade bill, which would amount to a tax in­crease of be­tween $1.3 and $1.9 tril­lion; and the im­pend­ing new health care en­ti­tle­ment, the 10-year im­ple­men­ta­tion of which would ul­ti­mately cost $2.5 tril­lion.

“Fis­cal Re­spon­si­bil­ity?” It only ex­ists in the name of smoke-and-mir­rors “sum­mits.”

In March, Mr. Obama opened a “Health Care Sum­mit.” This meet­ing of the minds was sup­posed to be­gin con­vinc­ing Amer­i­cans that health care re­form had to get done right now, even to the ex­clu­sion of fo­cus on the econ­omy and jobs. “If we don’t tackle health care,” he said, “then we’re go­ing to break the bank.” (See “Fis­cal Re­spon­si­bil­ity Sum­mit,” above.) At the time, he chas­tised those “ob­sessed with costs,” but in the same breath said, “I don’t think we can solve this prob­lem without talk­ing about costs.”

This was fol­lowed by an ex­plo­sion of pub­lic op­po­si­tion to any health care “re­form” with an out­sized price tag that will blow up the deficit like TNT. (An­other irony: the “Health Care Sum­mit” was also fol­lowed by a se­vere short­age of the H1N1 flu vac­cine, giv­ing new con­fi­dence to gov­ern­ment-run health care.)

In Septem­ber, Mr. Obama gave his bless­ing to a “Dis­tracted Driver Sum­mit,” de­signed to get Amer­i­can driv­ers fo­cused more on op­er­at­ing mo­tor ve­hi­cles and less on tex­ting, cell-phon­ing, and eat­ing be­hind the wheel. This was fol­lowed by three ma­jor car crashes in­volv­ing Mr. Bi­den’s mo­tor­cade, in­clud­ing one fa­tal ac­ci­dent.

Through­out the fall, Mr. Obama has con­vened nu­mer­ous “Afghanistan Sum­mits” in or­der to come up with a “new strat­egy” to re­place the old “new strat­egy” that he an­nounced in March and June. In late Au­gust, his newly ap­pointed com­mand­ing gen­eral in Afghanistan, Gen. Stan­ley A. McChrys­tal, sub­mit­ted his eval­u­a­tion and rec­om­men­da­tion for ad­di­tional troop de­ploy­ments. He re­ported that the “next 12 months” were crit­i­cal to “de­feat­ing the in­sur­gency.”

While Mr. Obama presided over his Afghanistan con­fabs, Gen. McChrys­tal lost three of those cru­cial months. But Mr. Obama had to time last week’s an­nounce­ment af­ter he got his Mother-of-all-Deficit-Ex­ploders — health care — in the con­gres­sional hop­per. He couldn‘t ex­actly an­nounce an ex­pen­sive new troop surge while still bat­tling to get $2.5 tril­lion worth of health care on the radar.

This brings us to last week’s “Jobs Sum­mit,” a talk-fest de­signed to show out-of-work Amer­i­cans that he cares about their plight. If he re­ally wanted to cre­ate jobs, he would cut taxes on in­di­vid­u­als and small busi­nesses, and cut pay­roll taxes and the cor­po­rate tax rate. Match those tax cuts with real cuts in spending, and you’d see job cre­ation and eco­nomic growth hap­pen faster than Mr. Obama can say “Jobs Sum­mit.”

But if he cut taxes, he’d be a bad lib­eral. So he presses on with job-killing, growth-crush­ing poli­cies, and con­venes sum­mits to con­tem­plate the eco­nomic navel.

He has spent tril­lions of dol­lars be­cause he said it would cre­ate jobs. It hasn’t. The em­ploy­ment pic­ture has got­ten much worse. So let’s stop spending money un­til the eco­nomic ge­niuses fig­ure out why.

Wasn’t Mr. Obama elected be­cause he conned enough peo­ple into think­ing he had an­swers to prob­lems like th­ese? And didn’t he al­ready have a year to fig­ure out how to deal with un­em­ploy­ment and Afghanistan? His idea of lead­er­ship is to con­tinue to hold th­ese pub­lic-re­la­tions cha­rades while mak­ing the prob­lems worse.

He is the sem­i­nar pres­i­dent. And he’s talk­ing us, lit­er­ally, to death.

Mon­ica Crow­ley is a na­tion­ally syndicated ra­dio host, a pan­elist on “The McLaugh­lin Group” and a Fox News con­trib­u­tor.

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