Mayor Swearengin Attends White House Job Summit

December 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin was one of only five U.S. mayors to attend a high-level White House jobs forum and brain-storming session Thursday. Unemployment remains the one economic indicator most resistant to the recovery, despite new jobless claims that dropped for a fifth straight week. The white house jobs summit is focused on answering one question. President Obama asked, "How do we get businesses to start hiring again?"

With 15.7 million Americans out of work, the jobless rate stands at 10.2%. A main goal of the gathering of business executives, finance experts, economists, small business owners and labor leaders is to help the cash-starved small businesses that create two-thirds of the nation's jobs.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, "That problem can be solved with a few incentives and a few regulatory changes, I think fairly quickly. It's a strong thing the government can do right now, that will actually cause jobs to be created very, very quickly."

Skeptical republicans gathered for a rival "where are the jobs" roundtable.

Rep. John Boehner (R) House Minority Leader said, "You know as a former small businessman myself, I know what it takes to meet a payroll. And I can tell you that the policy is being proposed by this administration and the democrat allies here in Congress are causing employers to sit on their hands."

It's a criticism the president faced head on.

President Obama asked, "I assure you, there is extraordinary skepticism that any discussions like this can actually produce results. I'm well aware of that. I don't mind skepticism. If I listened to the skeptics, I wouldn't be here. But I am confident that we'll make progress."