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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Here Are Some Bottom-Up Ideas to Increase Job Growth

• online.wsj.com

The five "fast-action" steps outlined by Jeff Immelt and Ken Chenault (chairman and member, respectively, of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness) in their June 13 op-ed "How We're Meeting the Job Creation Challenge," all seem reasonable—if one believes in central planning.

According to Messrs. Immelt and Chenault, the President's Council analyzed actions that "are critical to accelerating job growth in high-potential sectors." There is plenty of impressive business firepower represented on that council, but does the group really believe that it can identify and nurture "high-potential" areas of a $14 trillion economy?

Jeff Immelt has struggled to demonstrate the ability to pick business winners while running General Electric during the past decade. GE hitched many of its business segment wagons (e.g., green-energy projects and health-care innovation) to Washington and overall results have not been strong. During Mr. Immelt's tenure, GE's shareholders have lost about a third of their investment before inflation; the broader stock market had a positive return over that same period. GE's profits are lower than they were 10 years ago and its employee head count is down more than 10%

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