In preparation for a major jobs address to be delivered after Labor Day, President Obama spoke on the phone with Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Co., on Monday, a White House spokesman has told reporters, according to The Hill.
The president, currently vacationing in Martha's Vineyard, reportedly called to discuss his new job-creation plan, the details of which he is expected to announce in a speech sometime after Labor Day, according to White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest.
Earnest told reporters that Obama and Buffett discussed how to "spur investment and increase economic growth," according to The Hill. They also discuss the country's widening federal deficit. With Mulally, Obama discussed the auto and manufacturing industries, with a particular focus on how the auto sector has dealt with supply disruptions caused by the Japanese earthquake earlier this year.
Buffett, who penned a widely read op-ed for the New York Times this month that called for wealthy Americans to pay more taxes, has consulted with the president before. Last summer, Obama met with Buffett to discuss the economic slowdown and energy reform. In December, Obama met with Buffett, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates, to discuss the economy, philanthropy and national competitiveness. Obama met with Buffett and the Gateses again in July to speak more about their philanthropic efforts.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV last month, Buffett expressed skepticism that the government could do much to influence the ebb and flow of the economy.
"Government gets blamed too much and it may get too much credit when things do improve," Buffett said. "Government's a factor, but I would say by far the biggest factor in corrections of the business cycle over time is what I would call the natural regenerative powers of capitalism."
Mulally, for his part, was part of a group of business leaders who met with Obama in the summer of 2008, during the presidential campaign. Mulally has since met with Obama in other group settings and has consulted with White House officials to discuss fuel economy standards and the outlook for the auto industry.
Few details are known about the jobs plan Obama is developing. The president has already called for the establishment of an infrastructure bank, and for unemployment benefits and the payroll tax holiday to be extended. The plan is also believed to target the nation's long-term unemployed in particular, possibly by opening new training programs for the out-of-work and creating tax incentives for employers to hire more.