By Erik Wasson - 08/22/11 08:38 PM EDT
President Obama on Monday reached out to billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Ford CEO Alan Mulally for advice as he crafts a major jobs plan to be released after Labor Day.
Berkshire Hathaway head Buffett, who has become an Obama confidant, made waves earlier this month when he called on wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes in order to reduce the deficit.
“The President and Mr. Buffett discussed the overall outlook on the economy and the reaction to the headwinds we’ve experienced over the last couple of months," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "They talked a little bit about some possible measures that would spur investment and increase economic growth. And they also talked about some measures that could address the long-term fiscal situation in this country.”
Obama also called Mulally, and they discussed the disruptions to the auto industry supply chain caused by the Japanese tsunami as well as ways to stimulate exports and investment.
Ford was a major opponent of the Korea free trade agreement Obama is trying to move through Congress in the fall, until Obama renegotiated its automobile tariffs to disadvantage Korean trucks for a longer period of time.
Earnest said that Obama is still working through the jobs plan through the remainder of this week “at least.” So far Obama has called for an extension of a payroll tax holiday, an extension of unemployment benefits, the passage of trade agreements, and the creation of an infrastructure bank in order to stimulate the economy. Obama has also praised new approaches to jobs training.
The plan will be announced in a major speech after Labor Day. On the holiday, Obama will travel to Detroit to give a jobs speech, the White House announced Monday.
The GOP has derided Obama for calling for more spending instead of focusing on deficit reduction. The unemployment insurance, payroll and infrastructure bank concepts would add $250 billion to the deficit over 10 years according to nonpartisan analysis.