American Elephants


What Would Obama Do In a Second Term? by The Elephant's Child

Even Obama’s supporters are asking why he doesn’t talk about his agenda for his second term. His strategy is only to attack Romney, and it isn’t really working. What are his plans? Why doesn’t he talk about what he’s going to do in another term?

The simple answer is that he firmly believes that he got it right in his first term.

The economy has been harder and the recession deeper than expected, but he has done all the right things, and his agenda for his second term is to do more of the same. Alternative energy, hiring more teachers, more government support for research to help entrepreneurs know how to start new businesses, helping returning vets to find jobs as cops and other public employees, more unemployed people acquiring needed skills at government-sponsored classes at community colleges, more kids going to college with the help of big government loans that they can’t pay back. New alternative energy businesses will provide lots of jobs. And all the money that has been going to dumb wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be available to cut the deficit. He has told us so. We just weren’t paying attention.

Ben Bernanke is doing a new stimulus for him. The federal government has something like 50 job-training programs  administered by nine different agencies, none of which account for improved employment outcomes, but surely some more retraining programs at community colleges will do the job.

The economy may not be where we wanted it to be, but it is just because George W. Bush left us a bigger mess than anyone realized. After all, he has created 5 million new jobs.  He just needs more time. I will just re-post this devastating graph once more, because it is important.

(Click to enlarge)



The Choice by The Elephant's Child

Medicare and Social Security are going broke. Not maybe, not sometime in the distant future. The time for temporary fixes is over. There are too many baby boomers retiring between now and 2025, and the system cannot support the programs as they currently exist. We have to reform them in a way that won’t hurt vulnerable people. Pretending the programs are fine is just a flat-out lie.



Why Does Obama Want to Hire More Teachers? by The Elephant's Child

Last night, President Obama again returned to the issue of  “more teachers” which has so often puzzled me. He took on Gov. Romney on that subject, sneering at Romney’s lack of interest in hiring more teachers. Obama seems to offer hiring more teachers as a solution to our disastrous unemployment situation — while statistically, we have way more teachers in relation to numbers of students than is traditionally necessary.

I think I understand what he means. Obama is fiercely a man of the Left. He dislikes and distrusts Republicans, and opposes each policy of theirs. He thinks they are wrong, in every policy they advocate, and are constantly standing in his way. As is so often true of people on the left, he usually misinterprets Republican policies.

Democrats believe in Keynesian economics. Republicans believe that Keynesian economics has been proven over and over to be a failure in addressing a recession.  I think that Obama rejects Republican economic ideas, partly just because they are Republican. This recession, “the worst since the Great Depression,” is just way worse than they expected. Bush put two wars on the national credit card, and all that defense spending has really screwed things up.

Keynes thought that a recession was a problem of lack of demand, and you could increase demand by putting money into the economy (stimulus) and it didn’t much matter where you injected the funds.

Obama’s stimulus has worked, but just more slowly than expected, because “the worst blah, blah,” and with more stimulus the economy is coming back, we just have to wait it out. Maybe not quite “in the midst of a huge recovery” as Michelle said, but manufacturing is improving and he is doing wonderful things with alternative energy and saving America from the high cost of foreign oil.

I have urged you, many times to watchthe video of Richard Epstein explaining his observations of Obama, who he knew at University of Chicago and through his next-door neighbor who was a close friend of Obama’s. Obama is a puzzle, and many have written books, articles and even made movies trying to explain the man.

Richard Epstein, who is brilliant, does not attempt to psychoanalyze Obama or guess at his motives. His description of Obama is just close and careful observation, and has proved to be correct. Epstein said that Obama does not change his mind, that his ideas are set in concrete and if he believed in a stimulus four years ago, he believes that today.

The Obama we saw last night, is the Obama that Richard Epstein describes. And in spite of Solyndra and the dozens of other failed solar companies and wind farms and disastrous insistence of putting the corn crop in our gas tanks, he believes. So hiring more teachers grows the economy. Using taxpayer money to experiment with solar power, wind and biofuels is the wave of the future and you have to expect that not all will succeed — discounting the massive failures and bankruptcy of everything from Solyndra to the current bankruptcy of electric car battery maker A123.

Obama’s vision for his second term really is “more of the same.” It actually is what he believes will work. He really does have no idea how government can create more jobs other than to continue with current policies, spend more, and wait the slow recovery out.

He rejects completely the idea that small businesses report their income as individuals, and are a large part of “the rich” (defined as individuals reporting more than $200,000 in income) on whom he wants to increase taxes — thereby prolonging the recession. He sees “small business” as the multitude of small mom and pop enterprises, little shops, garages, that he has encountered.

Obama promises more of the same, because he thinks that is the answer.




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