American Elephants


Recovery? What Recovery is That? by The Elephant's Child

In January, 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans of working age who were not in the labor force was 80.529.000. Since that time, that number has increased by 11,472,000 to 92,001,000 as of July 2014.

The participation rate measures the percentage of the civilian non-institutional  population that participates in the work force by either having a job, or actively seeking one. It’s just a snapshot, and subject to revision, but at this state in a supposed “recovery” it should be far better.

President Obama tries to put a good face on it and speak as if the recovery is chugging along just fine, but it really isn’t. Microsoft announced the layoff of 14,000 workers in July. The Army is shedding another 1,500 captains and majors.

A lot of coal-fired power plant workers are going to lose their jobs because of ridiculous regulations that will accomplish nothing at all, and a lot of coal miners as well, as this president tries to shut down the industry that produces nearly half of America’s electricity cheaply and dependably under the illusion that solar and wind can produce a significant amount of expensive energy, if some unexpected miracle just makes the sun stop being diffuse and the wind stop being intermittent.

And just to help out the faltering job market, Obama has issued an executive order allowing the spouses of workers here on H-1B visas to go to work. The next executive order is expected to allow the “children,” who are mostly young men of working age, arriving at our southern border to receive work permits. Doesn’t anyone notice that all these things are connected?

We’ve had lots of recessions in the past. There is a business cycle. As things get better and unemployment eases, the economy starts to grow and offers more opportunity — the better things get, the more risks businesses take. Overworked people get assistants, a new wing is added to the building, new machines are purchased, and so it goes.  (I should add here, that also in the news today was the nugget that many of our civil servants are so bored in their jobs that they are spending their days watching porn.)

Most people are probably unaware that we had another Great Depression in 1920-1921. It was just about as deep as Roosevelt’s depression, but Warren Harding treated it a little differently. World War I had left the nation with runaway inflation and a soaring debt. The national debt had increased from $1 billion in 1914 to $24 billion by 1920. (Yes, it was a long time ago)

So what did Harding do?  A “stimulus”?  A jobs program?  “Targeted” tax cuts?  Government bailouts for ailing companies?  Nope—he cut government spending sharply and rapidly (by almost 50 percent), began cutting tax rates across the board, and allowed asset values and wages to adjust freely as fast as possible.  Harding’s administration, Paul Johnson observed, “was the last time a major industrial power treated a recession by classic laissez-faire methods, allowing wages to fall to their natural level ….  By July 1921 it was all over and the economy was booming again.”

If you remember your history, it was called “the roaring twenties.”



Because Of Obama Policies, the World Is On Fire, And He’s Sending Pink-Slips to the Firemen! by The Elephant's Child

Sunday morning data points from the Drudge Report and elsewhere:

That superficial report would seem to indicate something of the state of the world. But not   everyone is concerned. Obama’s off at Camp David for a birthday bash with friends.  And also reported is that the Army is going to tell 550 Army majors will be out of the service by next spring as “part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.” That follows 1.000 captains pink-slipped, 48 of them while they were serving in Iran.

Those of flag rank were discharged earlier.

Wasn’t Mr. Obama just urging some of the ‘children’ crossing the border to serve in the military so they can become citizens?  Is it written somewhere that cutting the budget has to come out of military readiness? How about cutting back on the full-entourage family trips to Africa? Or some of the excess numbers of Czars? I can think of whole departments that should go.

An independent panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress has warned in their report just issued that “President Obama’s strategy for sizing the armed services is too weak for today’s global threats.” The shrinking U.S. armed forces, the report acknowledged, is a “serious strategic misstep on the part of the United States,” “Inadequate given the future strategic and operational environment.”

“Not only have they caused significant investment shortfalls in U.S. military readiness and both present and future capabilities, they have prompted our current and potential allies and adversaries to question our commitment and resolve,” the report said. “Unless reversed, these shortfalls will lead to a high-risk force in the near future. That in turn will lead to an America that is not only less secure but also far less prosperous. In this sense, these cuts are ultimately self-defeating.”

The panel knocks Mr. Obama’s QDR for reducing the military’s global mission from being able to defeat two enemies nearly simultaneously to defeating one and denying the objectives of a second. The report calls on Mr. Obama to expand this overriding mission statement.



But That Was Then, This is Now. by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama on “Change” in Grand Junction, Colorado, May 20, 2008. If politicians actually kept up with technology, and learned about You Tube and Smart Phones and human memory, they might have to speak truthfully, and tell us when they changed their minds and why.

Could a society die if politicians had to be honest and straightforward? Sounds like a good science fiction story there!




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