Obama On Jobs: “We Know What To Do…”

"I know the Republicans want to drive but trust me, I've got it."

In a move that really should surprise no one, Obama announced yesterday in Iowa that he knows how to create jobs in America despite the fact that he’s done nothing but fail in that arena up to now. Unfortunately in typical Obama fashion, the president told Iowa and the nation we’d all have to wait until September to see his latest plan to create these jobs.

You know, this is so incredibly painful to watch as to almost turn me off to politics completely. The president, along with so many confused Americans clearly thinks that it is government’s job to actually create jobs. The fact that our current president is so confused as to the role of government in the lives of Americans will guarantee that the president’s “job plan” will be more of the same failed policies that have helped to lead us to our current economic state.

We can expect the president to ask for increased taxes on the rich, more “stimulus” money (let’s just hope all those “shovel ready jobs” are in fact shovel ready this time around) and a focus on short-term construction projects that he hopes this time will give enough of a boost to short-term unemployment rates as to carry him through the ’12 elections on a better footing than he currently has. Though I expect the president to intentionally lighten up a minimal amount of federal regulation just so he can say he’s done so, Obama’s 30 year record of increased regulation considered by most to be the main factor impeding job creation will be largely ignored.

Obama has become “exhibit 1” when it comes to tenacity in the face of incessant and utter failure. With 3 of the past four biggest economic downturns in American history rebounding into 3 of the greatest periods of growth in America following massive tax cuts, one might think Obama would be willing to ask the question; “What did Coolidge do in the ‘20s?”, “What did Kennedy do in the ‘60s?”, or “What did Reagan do in the ‘80s?”. As to the fourth and worst of the past four economic downturns in America, The Great Depression, many financial experts chose to ignore the fact that the US recovery came about 10 years after the rest of the world however, many other financial experts and I find it hard to ignore the unique effects of a unique course of action.

Obama simply does not understand that the federal government was intended to function in the background to ensure our Constitutional rights are protected. Government was never intended to be a prominent influence in the everyday life of American citizens. That’s what makes our system different. It’s clear Obama’s brand of “change” is really just changing back.

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August 13, 2011: A Day to Remember the Gipper

Thirty years ago tomorrow on August 13, 1981 Ronald Regan signed a set of massive tax cuts in an attempt to resuscitate Jimmy Carter’s failed economic mess. The Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981 centered on a sweeping 25% reduction in personal marginal tax rates across the board. At the time political pundits were largely in agreement on two points. First, that ERTA would do nothing more than line the pockets of the rich as it was widely believed at the time that the tax rate on top American wage earners would go down while the rest of the nation footed the bill. The second misconception critics agreed on was that ERTA would bring about the total collapse of the nation’s economy. The predictions of doom and gloom were pretty safe claims due to America’s economy teetering precariously close to the edge of collapse at that time. Who could forget the days of the gas lines and the unemployment rate which under Carter peaked at over 10%? All signs were pointing to continued increasingly dark days ahead for the United States. It would have been a safe bet to assume that any radical action, regardless the intent would be enough to send the US over the economic edge. As to the claims that the ERTA was nothing more than a payoff to those nasty rich people, in this particular case for many it was more than just partisan rhetoric. Washington critics at the time with the help of the Congressional Budget Office had cooked up some dismal estimates on the economic effects of the ERTA and the word was out. Unfortunately, the Democrat controlled CBO used a static model of human behavior in their estimates which did not take into account things like increased consumer confidence and encouragement to the wealthy to generate increased taxable income resulting in decreased overall unemployment; All the effects that supporters of cutting taxes have cited as reasons to do so throughout history.

Regan ignored warnings from American “Big Money” and Wall Street tycoons that the cuts were good but excessive. He paid no attention to the masses that called for and predicted his ousting after a single term. Reagan signed the ERTA thirty years ago tomorrow and the effects were dramatic.

In contrast to the CBO and other critics’ claims at the time, the Economic Recovery Tax Act of ’81, additional tax cuts in ’86 and eight consecutive years of reduced federal regulation on American businesses were nothing if not stimulating to the economy.

Under Reagan the private sector created 15 to 20 million new jobs between 1981 and 1988 depending on whose stats you reference. This is a net increase that doesn’t account for the additional five million jobs that were lost through 1982 before the effects of Reagan’s policies could be felt. So technically, the eight year effects of reduced taxes and federal regulation under Reagan actually saw the creation of 20 to 25 million new jobs with some estimate as high as 35 million. The DOW tripled under Reagan moving from an ’82 low of 884 to a ’89 high of 2,509.  Unemployment dropped from an ’82 high of over 9% to 5.5% by 1989. Inflation which was around 11% when Reagan took office dropped to an ’86 low of 2% and had leveled off at about 5% by the time Reagan left office.

Reagan took what many at the time considered drastic steps so as to focus immediate attention to the economic crisis of his time. However, Reagan, being an economics major was well aware of the effects the same types of cuts had produced in the 1920s and in the 1960s. In Reagan’s mind the cuts were not a risk but a no-brainer. The most conservative estimates show federal tax revenue under Reagan increasing by 80% despite the massive tax cuts. Other estimates claim federal revenue as much as tripled under Reagan. Despite critics’ claims that Reagan was simply cutting taxes on the rich, taxes on the top 10% of US wage earners increased due to their generating and spending increased taxable income while taxes on everyone else in the country went down with the poorest Americans seeing a nearly 300% decrease in personal taxes. All this was the result of decreasing federal regulation and taxes across the board resulting in increased consumer confidence and a more business friendly atmosphere that stimulated the economy to the longest period of peacetime economic growth the nation has ever seen. Reagan accomplished this while still investing heavily in defense which resulted in the US spending the USSR into defeat in the Cold War which then made it possible for the defense cuts that led to the Clinton era surplus.

As we start what promises to be another beautiful summer weekend in the greatest nation on Earth, I would encourage the country to consider the “risky” but incredibly effective actions of past American leaders such as Coolidge in the 20s, Kennedy in the 60s and most importantly Ronald Reagan in the 80s. Consider the economic state of the nation and the partisan rhetoric and disinformation at the time and compare all of these facts with the current state of our nation.

It’s time for America to stop playing politics and start learning from the past. It’s time for an American leader more vested in the success of the nation than in securing lifelong friends with payoffs and political favors. The nation misses you President Reagan, and we deeply appreciate not only your service but the fact that you served the nation above yourself while in office. Oh, and I would thank you personally for being an adult and not spending all your time making excuses and blaming your predecessor. I’d likely have no time for politics at this point in my life had I grown up watching a man-child in the Whitehouse making excuses as opposed to a strong leader making beneficial differences.

Obama’s Economic Policy: Shovels Needed

President Obama and two goons on his “Jobs Council” board got one hell of a laugh out of the president’s, “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected” comment on Monday. You can watch the big yukyuk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy8jlsAdN-k though I must warn that overexposure to this bit of video may result in unbridled rage.

It’s interesting to me that Obama didn’t simply reference his comments from his Oct 2010 interview with The New York Times in which he admitted, “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects when it comes to public works.” The president’s 2010 admission came after months of campaigning to raise support for his stimulus plan during which so-called shovel-ready jobs in the public sector were billed as the lifeline that would save the economy. The 2010 admission also made it clear that Obama’s promises of jobs resulting from his massive stimulus plan were nothing more than empty claims designed to garner support for the bill. If this were not the case one might think he would have looked into the existence of said jobs before promising them to America’s unemployed.  

Obama made no mention of his 2010 admission this past Monday. Instead, he’s right back to at least implying that shovel-ready public sector jobs are a reality and that the administration made a mere miscalculation in the readiness of the projects. As the video shows it was absolutely hilarious.

It’s becoming quite clear that Obama is simply not concerned with the US economy. Time and time again Obama has shown that he’s only concerned with the economy in as much as he needs to keep up appearances in order to keep the politically ignorant behind him. Many claim that Obama simply doesn’t know how to tackle the nation’s economic issues. I can’t give Obama that benefit of the doubt as I’m a “big picture” type of person.

In looking at the “big picture” here it may be worth mentioning that no one in their right mind expects the president to understand all the inner workings of every aspect of governing the nation. As ridiculously complicated as we’ve allowed our system to become, that individual will never exist. What America does expect is a leader who will appoint experienced, competent council chairs who will use their expertise to brief and advise the president. So far in the economic column Obama has all zeros.

Just Monday Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee announced he would be following in his predecessor’s footsteps and leave his position to return to teaching. Goolsbee’s announcement was just the latest of this administration’s economic advisors to resign. Now either these advisors and in most cases lifelong friends of Obama, disagree with the direction Obama’s economic policies are taking us or they simply reach a point at which they accept the fact that their teaching careers have not prepared them for their appointment. Either way the failure is Obama’s. Rather than handing out appointments to those who helped him get elected he should be focusing on the job he was elected to do. He should be seeking BUSINESS experienced, dedicated individuals to focus on the major economic issues that affect the stability of the nation. At this point I think it’s safe to say he should be looking for some new school of thought in this area as the current approach is not working. Instead, we’re almost guaranteed more of the same with economic academics who have never had to meet a payroll or have any relevent economic experience. As always, our president is concerning himself with political paybacks and his enormously expensive agenda.

Another part of “the big picture” is Obama’s actions before, during and after the passing of his stimulus plan. Leading up to the vote Obama attempted to openly purchase support for the stimulus with sweetheart deals for congressional fence sitters. This whole thing was astounding to me as I felt as if I were witnessing a felony being committed and no one cared. Obama also attempted to scare the country into supporting his plan claiming on the day of the vote that if the package were not passed that day the world would see an economic apocalypse by the following week. Well fortunately we averted total collapse by passing the bill with NO republican support. However, who can forget the odd behavior of our president as immediately following the vote he took off for a three-day weekend without even sticking around long enough to sign the legislation. Was Obama testing the financial gods or did he know we actually had a few more days until economic armageddon? Or, was it a big lie he used to help finance his agenda?

And while we’re on the subject, what about ZERO bipartisan support on Obama’s stimulus? It’s not unlike most jobs and economic policy legislation we’ve seen kicked around the halls of congress the past couple of years. Democrats are taking advantage of their radically leftist president and their Senate majority to ensure all their utopian Euro-socialist policies are adopted. This leaves us in a situation where basically only one angel of attack has been explored in tackling the economy. Despite this fact and after two and a half years, the president and congressional Democrats seem unwilling to admit their failure and entertain the possibility of another course of action. One in which out of control federal spending is leashed and drastically reduced accompanied with growth stimulating tax reductions.

In examining “the big picture” you must also consider where all of Obama’s stimulus spending is actually going. Unfortunately as is the case with so many things created in Washington, I doubt there’s a man or woman alive who can account for all of the federal spending tied to economic stimulation. However, a quick search of stimulus spending returns enough results to explain why there were no jobs created. Quite simply, job creation was not the intent.

There was the $6 billion slated to the “green” conversion of federal buildings. Another $2 billion for an Illinois power plant that the Department of Energy had defunded the previous year stating that the near-zero emissions coal plant was inefficient. There was another billion dumped into the 2010 census which was already projected to come in at $3 billion over budget. There were stimulus dollars for swine odor research in Iowa, a tunnel under a Florida highway for turtle and gator crossing and studies on the methane emissions of dairy cows. Bill Gates and Microsoft received $11 million to build a bridge linking two sections of their Seattle campus. Hollywood movie producers received nearly $250 million in tax breaks to buy film. We paid for a Wake Forrest University Baptist Medical Center study called “Monkeys getting high for science”, as well as a study on the labor distributions within ant colonies. There was stimulus money for signs making motorists aware that the construction they’re driving through was paid for by the stimulus as well as new mile markers to replace metric markers that had been installed in anticipation of a national conversion to the metric system that never happened. We paid for new windows in a Mount St. Helen’s welcome center that has been empty for years and for which no plans have been made to reopen. There was $6.5 million given to a debris removal contractor that was at the time the focus of three federal probes for “questionable billing” practices as well as another $1.2 million to research marketing video games to the elderly. There was the $7.3 million that went to two San Antonio fire stations for which the city had the money and had even hired a contractor prior to the stimulus. After the stimulus the project was significantly delayed resulting in layoffs with the contractor hired before the stimulus and increasing the cost of the project by over $2 million.

The list literally goes on and on with nothing in sight that one might consider stimulating to the economy or conducive to job creation. Honestly when one looks at where Obama’s stimulus was spent, how it was spent and when it was spent, it’s hard to find one stimulus recipient that could have possibly brought about the end of the financial world as we know it had they not received their Obama-bucks. It’s even harder to find a recipient that made any positive effect to the economy with their free money.

If you look at Obama’s economic apathy as he jets down to Puerto Rico to stage a show for Puerto Rican American voters and jokes about his broken promises, it’s clear this man couldn’t care less what the American economy does as long as he remains in a position to continue spending us into economic collapse. All this while bringing us ever closer to that utopian “global level playing field” which is in fact Obama’s agenda.