American Elephants

It’s a Wonderful World: Remembering Louis Armstrong on His Birthday by The Elephant's Child

I was lucky enough to see Louis Armstrong three times. What a consummate performer. Treasured moments. How wonderful that we can now preserve those great performances.

If You Have No Record of Success to Run On, Then You Just Make Stuff Up. by The Elephant's Child

This ad of Obama’s is particularly infuriating. The choice is for the welfare of the country, not whether or not we find Barack Obama likeable.  Governor Romney’s plan doesn’t “cut taxes for the people at the top.” Flat out lie. Romney wants to avoid raising taxes on the small businesses — 1.2 million of them  — whose owners file their taxes as individuals. These small businesses are the normal engine of growth in the economy, and they’re not hiring, because of the Obama economy.

We didn’t “try this top-down approach” that didn’t work, and it’s not what got us into this mess in the first place. What got us into this mess in the first place was the collapse of the mortgage market. Forcing banks to lend money to borrowers who could not pay back their loans was what a certain community organizer was up to before he ran for the Illinois senate.

Obama says he wants to “strengthen the middle class” but he has not the slightest idea how to do that. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, way off in the theoretical Keynesian weeds, searching desperately for a multiplier effect, are quite sure that you do it with more unemployment checks and food stamps. If Obama had the slightest idea how to help the economy recover, he would have done it in the past 4 years. But he rejects those things that would help, in favor of more government control, more regulation, more taxes.

It’s pretty much common sense. Business is hurting, afraid to hire, afraid of coming tax increases, afraid of coming regulations and taxes in ObamaCare, afraid of the EPA’s flow of useless regulation. Business does the hiring. So you remove the barriers government has put in their way and give them the optimism and hope that if they take risks, they will be able to make a profit. Why is that so hard?

The U.S. corporate tax is the highest in the world. Why does that make sense? You want your health care program to cost less, so why raise taxes on the manufacturers of medical devices like wheelchairs, stents, operating table lights, crutches, MRIs, CT scanners, and all the other wonderful inventions that have enabled doctors to better diagnose. All sorts of layoffs in that industry. Why does that make sense?

ObamaCare costs are too high— we’ll just pay doctors and hospitals less. Fine, but now Medicare and Medicaid patients can’t find doctors and you expect to add 30 million new Medicaid patients to a system that has no doctors for them.  Why does that make sense?

Do people just not grasp what this man has done to the country with his misguided policies? I’ve heard so many people say that he really tried, he’s been working so hard.  Balderdash!

Bureaucrats Know Better How a Job Should Be Done. Really? by The Elephant's Child

A bipartisan group of sixty House members has called on the Department of Transportation to reverse the regulatory guidance that was issued in June, limiting the ability of supply trucks to service oil and gas fields.

They not only argued that the guidance reversed 50 years of established practice without warning to the industry. The regulatory guidance will harm not just the oil and gas industry, but related industries that also contribute to job growth. “Such a change significantly restricts the operations of individuals and businesses engaged in hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ operations, increasing their costs and restricting their ability to provide good-paying jobs to American citizens and low-cost energy to U.S. consumers” they said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. There they go with the job-killing regulations again.

Th Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released regulatory guidance in June. It is often necessary for drivers servicing oil and gas fields to stay on duty beyond 11 hours because fields may be in remote areas accessible only by unpaved roads. In addition, once trucks get to the oil or gas field, they are often forced to wait to load or unload, based on the activity going on at the site. Other drivers would be capped at 11 hours. This makes it hard for sites to coordinate its operations, would require more trucks and drivers, increase costs and produce more vehicle traffic.

The FMCSA is holding “listening sessions” around the country.

Jobs Gained in Presidential Administrations Since 1948 by The Elephant's Child

Good graphic representations can clarify those things which plain words can often not make clear. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Obama keeps claiming that he has created 4.1 million jobs, but that works only if you don’t subtract the jobs lost. There are, I believe, 125,000 new workers (young people, immigrants,) added to the work force each month, so you have to subtract those too. Which makes yesterday’s reported 163,000 jobs look even worse. Real unemployment is up around 15%. The 8.3— U3 rate only includes those actively looking for work, not those whose unemployment has run out.

Didn’t have to be this way.

This Beetle Could Provide Another Delay for the Keystone Pipeline. by The Elephant's Child

I had seen rumblings of enthusiasm about the construction of the Southern part of the Keystone XL pipeline — the prospect of more good jobs is something practically everybody in today’s economy is looking forward to. Not so much the Greenies. They will pull out all the stops to put a halt to it. Perhaps Fish and Wildlife found this one all on their own, but an unseemly number of projects that the Greenies don’t like, have been halted by an “endangered species.” In this case the ‘endangered’ species is a beetle: the American burying beetle, so called because it buries dead rodents to protect its food. As beetles go,
it’s a fairly large one at 1.5 inches long. The orange   bands are distinctive, but the dead rodents thing is a little off-putting. Carrion beetles. There are known populations in South Dakota, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island, and even Kansas.

The record of official endangered species listings is not a good one. Many species have turned out not to have been endangered after all, some listings are a sop to some environmental activists for the specific purpose of stopping a project.

This beetle could delay the Keystone XL for up to a year, because new rules by US Fish and Wildlife prevent the pipeline developer from moving the hiding bugs until the project receives federal approval. I’m a skeptic about endangered species, perhaps unjustifiably so, but I’m unaware of any great success stories, and have seen a lot of species that have been declared endangered still thriving elsewhere.  Creatures are pretty good at adapting, as they have been doing  for thousands of years.

President Obama’s policies seem to come accompanied with job losses. The auto bailout killed thousands of jobs. Cash for Clunkers killed jobs. The promised infrastructure jobs never appeared. Administration actions in the Gulf with the Deepwater Horizon crisis killed thousands. Refusing the cross-border portion of the Keystone XL cost thousands. All the ill-conceived solar manufacturer bankruptcies killed thousands. Raising taxes on medical device manufacturers has killed thousands. Unnecessarily shutting down coal power plants is killing thousands. There never were thousands in wind farms. Excessive government regulations have killed many. The list goes on and on. Actions have consequences.

Neither jobs nor the economy have been the president’s primary focus, but if you expect unemployment checks and food stamps to be the best way to help the economy recover, you’re not going to get very far anyway.

*(photo by Doug Backlund, Wildphotos Photography)

Exploding Liberal Heads, One by One by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever watched a liberal’s head explode before your very eyes? The brilliant Richard Epstein, from whom ideas flow at warp speed, unsettles Paul Solman’s series on U.S. Economic Inequality. The video is short, so you can watch it more than once and not miss anything. Do you have the feeling that Solman, unsettled, dismisses the whole episode and returns to his comfortable liberal platitudes? Of course he does.

Try the thesis on a liberal friend. You’ll get the same outraged stare. Liberals don’t get incentives.

This is  re-post, from last October, because we need to be reminded. Abraham Lincoln did famously say “You can’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor.”

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