American Elephants

“Stimulus” that will not stimulate, “Reinvestment” that will not lead to recovery, politicians on the wrong track. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama wants his stimulus bill passed quickly in answer to continuing job loss among the American people.  In just the last few days big layoffs have been announced by Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks.  Ouch!

The big $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Action and Action Now!) is working its way through Congress.  There are big gifts to every progressive constituency, and lots of “hopenchange”, but not much stimulus.

The language has changed a little, from “creating jobs” to “creating or saving jobs”, which is a little more difference than is apparent in just the change in wording.

I have been going over the Summary put out by the Committee on Appropriations, and the Summary from the Ways and Means Committee.  They are quite interesting, but not stimulating.

In 2008, government payrolls topped  22,ooo,ooo, and are continuing to climb.  The Recovery and Reinvestment Act “creates” jobs by increasing government payrolls at all levels.  This rests on a vast misunderstanding of how jobs are “created.”

When the government hires someone , whether city government, county, state or federal, where does their pay come from?  Taxes.  Government has no money of its own.  It takes that money out of your pocket in taxes.  Your taxes pay the salaries of teachers, firemen, forest service rangers, soldiers and congressmen.  When Congress puts in a clever bill that gives themselves an automatic pay raise every year, it comes right out of your pocket.

So how are jobs created?  Joe Inventor invents a machine that sticks little gummed labels on all sorts of fresh fruit — apples, tomatoes, oranges, etc..  Soon every orchardist has to put little labels on his crop.  The machines have to be made, all the parts have to be made, and the little gummed labels have to be gummed and printed, and stuck on the fruit.  You  have seen and peeled off the labels.  I don’t have any idea how many people are employed by this invention, but it has to be a lot.

Samuel Smallbusiness has a small company that installs insulation in buildings.  Business is so good that he needs a couple of more workers to keep up with the demand.  He has created two jobs.  The government decides to “create” jobs by creating a “job corps” for underprivileged young people.  You pay for the job corps in increased taxes: Samuel Smallbusiness loses demand as government paid kids are now doing some of the work that his crews used to do.  He lays off three workers.

Most of the creating and saving of  jobs is summed up by these examples, but there is more.  A major targeted effort is for “clean, efficient American energy.”  This effort comes from a belief that global warming is a problem, that global warming is caused by carbon in the atmosphere, and that wind, solar and geothermal power can become a significant source of energy.  This entire statement is a falsehood. The earth has not warmed in the last ten years, and has been cooling for the last five years.  This year it has become particularly noticeable.  It is expected that the earth will continue to cool for around 30 years, but we cannot predict the future.

Vast infrastructure programs are planned, to “modernize roads and bridges, transit and waterways.” The Federal Highway Program spreads millions in bounty to the states each year for modernizing roads, bridges and transit. Potholes get politicians no publicity.  The money gets spent on bike trails and more scenic efforts. Light rail is popular among politicians, but has been shown to neither relieve congestion or pay for itself.

The summary from the Committee on Appropriations is available here. It’s 13 pages to pour through, and hopefully many, many changes will be made before it becomes law.

What is frightening is the absence of anything that will relieve the economic crisis or help the economy to recover.  It is all old-fashioned “pump-priming” left over from John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s. Back then they paid people meager wages to dig ditches and now they want to pay people to computerize  businesses and build windmills — but they are still makework jobs.  When they have shelled out the entire $825 billion and the economy is still in the tank, then what?

There is lots of money for pie-in-the-sky things that may never come to fruition. Experts, those who are not trying to sell wind farms, point out that neither wind nor solar will in the foreseeable future become a significant source of power.  There is money for scientists to cure diseases, solve chronic illnesses, create new fuels and invent electric batteries that have not been invented with vast money from venture capital. All very nice, but this is pure “hopenchange,” not economic stimulus.  They may get results in 2 years or in 25 or never.

President Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, quietly suggested that government would accomplish more by buying things, but nobody was paying attention.  Replacing the military equipment worn out in the war would be a wise purchase as many have recommended, boost the economy immediately,but the Code Pinkies and the Move-Ons would undoubtedly go ballistic.

Is the faith in the Messiah such that people will go for anything, no matter how unlikely?  I sure hope not!

Dangerous misconceptions, enacted in a dangerous rush. by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2009, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Military, Politics, Progressivism, Terrorism | Tags: ,

Obama remains in full campaign mode.  He promised to undo all the executive orders that George W. Bush signed, in his first day of office.

A week ago, former Vice President Cheney advised the incoming president  to go slowly, look carefully at the policies and institutions that the Bush administration had put in place to protect the American people, before rushing to follow through on his campaign promises to dismantle them.   President-elect Obama said on ABC’s This Week “I think that was pretty good advice, which is I should know what’s going on before we make judgments and that we shouldn’t be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric.”

He has ordered tough new ethics rules, while his Commerce nominee has bowed out due to ethical problems, his attorney general was instrumental in pardoning a felon on the FBIs most wanted list  and pardoning Puerto Rican terrorist murderers.  His Treasury nominee, who will head the IRS,  cannot explain his tax-cheating.  His nominee for energy czar wiped clean the computers and e-mails of the EPA in direct defiance of  judicial orders, and is an official member of Socialist International.

Obama has immediately begun dismantling  executive orders, without understanding why they were made. He has ordered the Guantanamo detention center closed within a year.   He has no idea what to do with Guantanamo detainees, and has ordered the military to figure it out, without understanding that all the careful development of the detainee center in Guantanamo was in response to the complicated consequences of possible alternates.

The CIA program Obama is effectively shutting down is the reason why America has not been attacked again after 9/11.  He has removed the tool that stopped al Qaeda from flying planes into Heathrow Airport, the Library Tower in Los Angeles, London’s Canary Wharf, blowing up apartment buildings in Chicago and disrupted many, many other attacks.

Now another Guantanamo detainee, who was released in 2007 to go through rehabilitation training in Saudi Arabia, apparently flunked, for he has reemerged as a deputy al Qaeda leader in Yemen.  When he was a prisoner at Guantanamo, he claimed to be an innocent carpet buyer who was learning about urban carpet buying warfare in an al Qaeda training camp south of Kabul, Afghanistan.  Foreigners learn enough about the political correctness afflicting America  to appeal to human rights activists, who then lobby for their release.

There are those in our country, who in spite of all evidence, insist on believing the worst about America.

But now that a “progressive” is in charge, patriotism is suddenly fashionable again.  Go figure.

Obama Snubs Medal of Honor Recipients to hang with Hollywood by American Elephant

If you ask me, Obama is off to a very unimpressive, amateurish start.

His inaugural speech was uninspired as well as poignantly divisive and insulting at the end of a transition which was primarily notable for the unprecedented grace and cooperation shown by President and Mrs. Bush. His benediction was racist, and his poet a joke.

He has appointed a tax-cheat to head the IRS, the architect of Clinton’s “Pardongate” to head Justice, and his Secretary of State nominee managed to insult both Afghanistan AND Columbia before even being confirmed.

Now we find that Obama is the first president of either party to ever snub the American Legion’s “Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball, a ball honoring Medal of Honor recipients, in the 56 years since its inception.

According to BlackFive:

FORTY-EIGHT MoH recipients were in attendance.  People- that’s HALF of the recipients that are still alive, and darn well nearly all that are physically able to attend events.

So who did Obama deem fit to honor with his presidential person instead?

Their first dance was at the Neighborhood Ball, under the sounds of Etta James’ “At Last,” performed by Beyoncé.

Other celebrities at the Neighborhood Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center included Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Faith Hill Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, from the Black-Eyes Peas, Sting and Mariah Carey. Movie stars, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who dashed to DC from London where he was attending the premiere of his latest movie, were also in attendance.

He attended 10 balls in total, all of which seem to have featured celebrities, but the traditional Medal of Honor ball was apparently never even in the cards. I suppose the “One” didn’t want to be upstaged by his superiors.

Some change simply sucks.

Update: This story has now been confirmed by the Legion of Honor.

(h/t LGF)

President Obama’s Very Bad First Day. by The Elephant's Child
January 23, 2009, 1:11 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Military, News, Politics, Progressivism, Terrorism

President Obama has ordered the detention center at Guantanamo Bay closed within a year.  This is apparently in reaction to the views of people who have been too lazy to read about the real prison, too uninformed to read about the Geneva Conventions,  ignorant of the nature of the detainees and ignorant of American Constitutional  law, and too susceptible to the views of the European media.  As the Wall Street Journal remarked today “Campaign promises are so much easier to adhere to when they’re strictly hypothetical, as Barack Obama is discovering.”

President-elect Obama, as he began to learn about the reality of Guantanamo, said that “it is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize” and that “many” of the enemy combatants are “very dangerous.”  His left-wing supporters immediately went ballistic.

It has been extremely difficult to find the right language to describe the nature of the radical Islamists, while not demeaning ordinary Muslims.  James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA, came up with the term “theocratic totalitarian genocidal maniacs,”which describes them pretty accurately. But there are those who will not, under any circumstances, grasp the nature of the detainees, nor of the nature of the problems that they present.

The countries from which they came do not want them back.  Countries that are most vocal about the horrors of Guantanamo want no part of accepting detainees.  We cannot send them somewhere where they might be mistreated.  Many of those released have already returned to terrorist camps, and trying to kill our troops.

Some think that terrorists — theocratic totalitarian genocidal maniacs — should be treated like criminals. this is a profound misunderstanding of their nature.  They believe that their God demands that they eliminate anyone who does not submit to Islam;  they are quite willing to die in the process, for they will be rewarded in paradise.

So what do you do with them?  Barack Obama has made a terribly dangerous  mistake  by attending to the opinions of European media rather than to the primary requirement of his office, which is keeping the American people safe.

Dick Cheney quietly advised Obama to go slowly and find out why the previous administration did what they did.  It was good nonpartisan advice.  Pity that Obama paid no attention.

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