American Elephants

Jobs Just Aren’t At the Top of the Obama Agenda! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has said that he will veto the bill extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment benefits — if it includes approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, which offers an immediate 20,000 ‘shovel-ready’ jobs at no cost to the government.  It’s all private enterprise. Yet the president says his most important priority is creating jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says “My job is to create jobs.” Well, no it isn’t. The government has no money of its own, it just takes money from taxpayers to give to other people in the government. But Harry Reid says that the Keystone XL pipeline approval is a sticking point and the bill cannot be passed — if all that job creation is in it.

The Keystone XL pipeline would bring Canadian oil south to American Gulf refineries. The pipeline has been vetted by every applicable agency, the route has been approved, and with the president’s signature, would start hiring, start work, offering union jobs and creating spin-off jobs as it gets going. High-paying jobs as well.

The problem for Mr. Obama seems to be his re-election campaign and the funding usually offered by the big environmental organizations. Remember that the only qualification to be an environmentalist is a professed love for the environment.  As the far left believes in a Utopia, if they can just make capitalism “good,” so the environmentalists believe in an environmental Utopia, if they can just get people and all their works out of the environment and leave it pristine, as nature intended.

All fine, except there are major problems with those ideas. Utopians do not grasp human nature as the flawed, messy, sinful nature that is, and assume they can fix it.  Environmentalists believe in an idealized Nature, and do not grasp the dangerous, wild, fierce, destructive reality of the ‘natural’ world.

The president and Harry Reid don’t really care about jobs. You cannot believe the words of their mouths — because their consistent actions over the past three years prove that politics and political contributions trump job creation every time. Their a-historical understanding of economics tells them that the financial crisis was caused by insufficient regulation. They have attempted to correct that with regulations that cripple business and do nothing to address the causes of the financial crisis.

The government defines “economically significant” regulation as rules that impose more than $100 million in annual costs on the economy, although there are hundreds if not thousands of new rules that fall well short of that. According to an analysis of the Federal Register by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, Cabinet departments and agencies finalized 84 such regulations annually on average in President Obama’s first two years.  The annual average in the Bush administration was 62, and  under the Clinton administration 56.

There is a government document called the Unified Agenda, which details all proposed or final rules and is compiled twice a year by the federal Regulatory Information Service Center. The current number of major new rules this year is 146 — an historic high. Regulation began to grow after 9/11, and surged when the Pelosi House came in 2007. Not every rule in the Unified Agenda will eventually go on the books. The Unified Agenda is a lagging indicator.

Regulatory czar Cass Sunstein estimates the total cost of the first two years of Obama administration regulation  as somewhere between $8 billion and $16.5 billion.  The Heritage foundation estimates the total, including the agencies, at $40 billion for the two years, compared to $60 billion for the eight years of the Bush administration.

It is very clear that the regulatory surge is responsible for the lackluster economic recovery compared to previous recessions.

Rather than attempting to improve the business climate to encourage job creation, the Obama administration has pushed through liberal policies on health care, financial services, energy, housing, education, student loans, telecom, labor relations, transportation.  Businessmen, companies, corporations, small businesses and business organizations have complained about the paralyzing effect of the blizzard of new rules. The government pays no attention.

Anyone who thinks that this deluge has no effect on job creation has never worked in private enterprise.  Oh wait! The Obama administration has fewer people who have ever worked in the private sector than any administration in history.

(click to enlarge)

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