A Publication of WTVP

In December, President Obama hosted a jobs summit at the White House with union bosses and corporate CEOs to discuss ways to accelerate job creation in the U.S. Noticeably absent were any representatives from the Chamber of Commerce or the National Federation of Independent Business, who represent most of the employers throughout the country.

While not receiving invitations from the president might not stop everyone from attending events at the White House, the absence of the Chamber and NFIB reveals this summit for what it really was: just another PR stunt. If the president was serious about creating jobs, he’d immediately submit the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

For months, House Republicans have been asking “Where are the jobs?” as the Democrats ignore the rising unemployment rate and instead, pass a cap-and-tax bill that, according to independent estimates, will cost us between 2.3 and 2.7 million jobs each year for 20 years and a healthcare bill that President Obama’s own economic advisor estimated would cost as many as 5.5 million jobs.

This is the height of foolishness. As of October 30th, the Administration says $214.5 billion of the “so-called” stimulus has been spent thus far and this spending has “saved or created 640,000 jobs.” In other words, according to the numbers provided by the White House, these jobs have come at a cost to the American taxpayer of over $335,000 per job.

There is a better way to create jobs and there is a way we can create these jobs at no cost to the American taxpayer. By passing these free trade agreements, which won’t require a tax increase, add to our national deficit or hurt our small businesses, we can create well-paying American jobs in sectors of our economy such as manufacturing and agriculture.

Surprisingly, even President Obama agrees with me. He recently stated that increasing U.S. exports by just one percent would create over 250,000 American jobs. According to the International Trade Commission, passage of the Colombia, Panama and South Korea free trade agreements would increase our exports by more than one percent. The inaction on these trade agreements is preventing the creation of a quarter million American jobs.

While some may prefer summits and speeches to action, I believe we should immediately implement these free trade agreements to ensure the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Free trade equals free jobs. iBi