Obama Calls for Action ‘Right Now’ on Job Creation

Posted December 3, 2009 at 2:10pm

President Barack Obama on Thursday welcomed a group of government, nonprofit, academic and business officials to a White House summit on job creation — an event that appears to be at least partially a response to the GOP drumbeat about the “jobless— recovery.

Obama asked those assembled for their ideas — and emphasized how much he valued their input — but he also revealed that he already plans early next week to discuss possibilities for remedying the employment situation.

The president seemed well aware of criticism that Thursday’s session was just for show.

“I assure you, there is extraordinary skepticism that any discussions like this can actually produce results,— Obama said. “I’m well aware of that. I don’t mind skepticism. If I listened to the skeptics, I wouldn’t be here.—

As lawmakers mull how to pay for a new jobs bill, Obama warned against over-priming the pump.

“We … have to face the fact that our resources are limited,— he said. “So we can’t make any ill-considered decisions right now. Even with the best of intentions, we’re going to have to be surgical and we’re going to have to be creative.—

While job creation typically lags behind economic growth as the economy comes out of a recession, Obama said the intent of the summit is to find ways to goose the job picture right away.

“I am not interested in taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to creating jobs,— he said. “What I’m interested in is taking action right now to help businesses create jobs right now, in the near term.—

Obama suggested the immediate need to steady the economy during the early days of his presidency prevented him from focusing more intently on job creation.

“It was clear then that our first order of business was to keep a recession from slipping into a depression, from preventing financial meltdown, and getting the economy growing again, because we knew that without economic growth there would be little to nothing we could do to stem job losses,— he said. “And we knew that trying to create jobs in an economy based on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards and overleveraged banks was akin to building a house on sand.—

Obama said he will meet Friday with small-business owners in Allentown, Pa., “to get their ideas.—