American Elephants

Obama Wants Greater Economic Equality. His Policies Destroyed It. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s Inaugural Speech, angry and divisive, was all about a call for the Progressive Project. Big Government, Big Health, Big Equality, Big Progressive Reform of Everything. Even reforming history to insist that the old ideas of the old white men who wrote the Declaration and the Constitution no longer measure up to the needs of modern progressive society.  Modern.

The centerpiece was a call for greater economic equality. The president said that “our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.” That’s just what has happened over the last four years. A new big tax on “the rich” doesn’t begin to compensate for the misery Obama’s policies have inflicted on everyone else.

The recession formally ended in June 2009. We should have seen real recovery beginning, but the auto companies were bailed out, with portions of the value of the companies turned over to the workers. The car dealers — independently owned businesses whose only connection to the auto manufacturers was that they purchased the cars they sold from the car makers— were abruptly put out of business.

The management of GM was replaced with Obama’s own choices. Chrysler was turned over to Fiat, an Italian company. The union workers at GM and Delphi had their pensions restored, while the non-union employees were left out. GM was told to start making electric cars — Volts —that GM management said were not yet ready for prime time, which has proved to be true.

Then the administration cooked up a program to get all the people who were planning to buy a new car to turn their old ones in to be crushed, decimating  both the used-car market and the used-parts market, and gave the people who were going to buy a new vehicle anyway, a big subsidy to make their purchase promptly. Is there anything in that tale that might make businessmen nervous? Suspicious of the government? Inclined to hunker down and not get noticed? Right.

That was followed up with a vast and complete reformation of American Health Care, promising to reduce the cost, “bend the cost curve down” was the favored term. Except the cost of health care had been coming down slowly for some time, as new diagnostic tools became more available, new drugs improved outcomes, new techniques saved lives.

The “cost curve” was to bend down with the addition of 30,000 to 50,000 people without insurance, and with the addition of over 100 new agencies to manage our new socialized medicine, and perhaps 100 new employees in each of those agencies. The cost curve was to be bent down by forcing the entire medical establishment to get all their records online.  Complete failure. Expensive. Anything there to concern those businessmen who were expected to hire new workers and pay for their health insurance? Perish the thought.

There were the roads and bridges that turned out to be not shovel ready. Have you noticed that 4 years later, he’s still talking roads and bridges? There were the vast promises of new high technology jobs in new 21st century sources of clean energy. Lots of subsidies with taxpayer funds. Government picking and choosing which businesses to support always works well.  New tools, old energy. The wind remains completely intermittent; solar energy is diffuse, affected by natural things like clouds and night. The jobs? Temporary, and vanishing when the companies go bankrupt which most did.

Every regulation issued by the government has costs and consequences. The EPA has been a regular fountain of regulation, most unnecessary and accomplishing nothing except tighter government control of the economy. The costs to businesses are huge. Everything from businesses being abruptly shut down, to paperwork requirements that mean hiring more people to fill it out.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 men, and shut down oil production in the Gulf for an ever-extending period. Big offshore rigs picked up and went to other countries where they were more welcome. The extended shutdown — was it needed for safety reasons? or to promote all that clean energy? — put all sorts of businesses related to the oil fields out of business, motels, restaurants, suppliers in many states.

That is the situation for businesses struggling to survive. Small business (50 employees and up) has long been the engine of growth in our society, not huge corporations. Those who should be leading the growth in the economy are understandably sitting on their hands, hunkering down, hoping not to get noticed. They are afraid of their government, and with good reason.

Median household income is 7% below where it was when Obama took office. Most of the high-paying jobs lost in the recession are being replaced with low-paying jobs. Small businesses are laying off workers to get below the magic number of 50 employees because of ObamaCare. Universities and colleges, the home of progressive angst about income inequality, are reducing hours for their adjunct employees because of ObamaCare.

The number of people on food stamps is up 46% since Obama first took office. There are 2.7 million more people in poverty than in 2009. So who is doing well? From whence comes Obama’s claim that the economy is recovering? The “shrinking few” that Obama complains about are doing fine. Wall Street investors, corporate chiefs are doing nicely because of administration efforts to keep interest rates low. The three richest counties in the country all surround  Washington DC, where we know pay is higher and people work less than the rest of us.

The only real answer to income inequality is a private sector  economy that is growing and thriving. That spreads opportunity and mobility in ways that no federal government could hope to do. Government jobs are paid with the funds supplied by the private sector in taxes on a population that is employed and creating and innovating. A free market economy unhampered by big government.

Nebraska Gov. Heineman Aproved the New Keystone XL Route: What’s Next? by The Elephant's Child


Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has approved the new route for the Keystone XL pipeline from the Canadian oil fields.  The State Department approved it previously, when the projected route ran through Nebraska’s Sand Hills, but now they will have to approve it again. The pipeline was halted when President Obama denied the northern sector because of environmentalist pressure. We’ll see what happens this time.

Looking through my own archives, I see that I’ve written 8 posts just about the Keystone battles, including one about Democrats’ consistent attempt to redefine problems away, prompted by the hapless Jay Carney’s attempt to claim that the history is quite clear, it was the Republicans who cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. (The GOP played Politics?)

The Keystone XL project promised 20,000 high paying jobs, which the economy badly needs, and an estimated 250,000 spinoff jobs along the pipeline route as it moved down from Canada to the refineries in Texas and Oklahoma. Environmentalists used the Sand Hills as an excuse, but their real reason is that they don’t want the pipeline — period. The denial was a major foreign-policy gaffe, and caused some real hard feelings with our northern neighbor. Canadians have their problems with activist greens as well.

Since Hillary Clinton is departing, and the new nominee is John Kerry, subject to Senate approval, it may be stopped in its tracks at the State Department, getting Obama off the hook. The Kerrys are movers and shakers in the environmental movement. It will be put off until after the new Secretary of State is in office. I’m not hopeful.

Apparently good paying jobs and economic growth are no longer a particular concern. Unemployment went unmentioned in the Inaugural speech, and the economy was dismissed with the simple comment that it is recovering, though there is little evidence that it is. There are fewer Americans working now than there were when Obama was inaugurated in 2009.  The national debt has increased dramatically. Although jobs are being created slowly, there are not enough to keep pace with the numbers of new people entering the work force. Since June 2009, the economy has grown at a rate of 0.4% a year. That’s beyond slow.

The speech was filled with promises to conquer global warming — unnecessary, since there has been no warming at all in the 21st century, and may be cooling for something like 30-35 years. Climate change does not cause “the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.” Drought and storms are weather, not climate — and raging fires are caused by an Interior Department unwilling to thin forests and insistent on promoting roadless areas, so it’s hard to reach fires to control them.


The Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions! by The Elephant's Child

Andrew Klavan tackles the verity of an old proverb — the triumph of belief over truth, the ferocious commitment that decent, intelligent, educated people make to virtuous-sounding ideals and well-intended programs that are, in fact, the sure road to atrocity. The utopian hope of Communism, which has caused its adherents to turn a blind eye to mass murder and oppression…  the high-minded lie of multiculturalism, which, in the name of tolerance, has given aid and comfort to the enemies of civilization… Intellectuals and sophisticates not only cling to such fancies but demonize the prophets who try to reveal their real nature.

These creeds don’t deliver what they promise, but they do provide their followers with a sense of their own virtue — a sense that comes to trump the millions of lives shattered or lost in the course of the creed’s actualization. For all their good intentions, the true believers somehow seem to forget that each human “sacrifice” to the greater good had a life as urgent as their own; had dreams, loves, thoughts, experiences each more worthy of reaching fruition than even the finest of cloud-based utopias.

Not My Fault! Not My Fault! Not My Fault! by The Elephant's Child

You have heard of the Big Lie technique. You repeat something over and over, and pretty soon everyone will believe it. This is Barack Obama’s  strategy for the battle with the Republicans over the debt ceiling.

He wants the public to believe that the huge deficits of recent years are all the work of Congress (only the Republican House of course), and that now Congress must “take responsibility for the mess it made. ” Oh, please.

On Saturday the White House declared “there are only two options to deal with the debt limit. Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default.”

At his Monday press conference “Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending, it simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to.”

The problem is those irresponsible Republicans and Speaker John Boehner, and those radical Tea Party wackos who want the federal government to fail to send out Social Security checks.

Congress can’t spend a single cent unless the president signs a bill to do so. The biggest spending binge was in 2009 when Democrats were in charge of both houses and Obama asked for and got a massive stimulus bill.  Outlays soared from $2.98 trillion in 2008 —to $3.53 trillion in 2009, and $3.46 trillion in 2010 — fiscal years ending in September.

Congress appropriates to fulfill the president’s budget. Obama’s budgets asked for the deficit spending he now claims was not his fault. The Big Lie is objectionable because it has become common knowledge that nothing, nothing is ever Obama’s fault.

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