American Elephants


How to Wreck An Economy 101 by The Elephant's Child

We’re all educated people here, whether in the school of hard knocks, our nation’s public schools, colleges and universities or by our own lifetime learning program. And a remarkably large percentage of what we are presented with under the guise of information, is absolute nonsense. We don’t know as much as we think we do, and we have a hard time separating the good and true from the absolute crap.

They may call this “the Information Age” but that simply means the gush of words and pictures is bigger, not that we know more, and we know a lot that isn’t so. Since this is Labor Day, how about this headline from the Washington Post: “Why American needs to get used to slower growth.” You mean it can get slower?

There is a school of thought that looks out upon the world and assumes that whatever is — will always continue to be. People look at the current dismal economy as assume that it’s all over and it will continue to be dismal, without examining just why the economy is dismal.

Here’s another interesting bit. Employers are not hiring people who have been laid off. And they are hiring older workers with long work histories. Translation: Employers don’t know how to pick a good employee from those who apply. They don’t know to interview to get a good employee, they don’t know when someone’s lying or if they are skillful, they don’t know how to read their qualifications. They don’t trust grade-point averages.

Now about 200 U.S. colleges will give a new test to seniors that is a volunteer SAT-like assessment that aims to provide an objective, benchmarked report card for critical thinking skills. Uh huh . The test is called the “Collegiate Learning Assessment.”

The very same colleges and universities that have claimed to be teaching “critical thinking” for years, but then they got off track with political correctness, and diversity, and race and gender studies. Before it was “critical thinking” they used to teach the best that has been thought and learned through the ages, and they called it “the Humanities”, but they decided that was simply about old dead white men and junked it for all sorts of “studies” instead. And the percentage of “A’s”given by teachers has tripled since 1940. I suspect that the CLA will not do any better at providing employers with excellent employees.

The recession that Obama always refers to as “the worst recession since the Great Depression” ended in 2009. It was a sharp recession, but usually the economy recovers more quickly after a sharp recession. Keynesian economics proved once again not to work. The recommended course is to make it easier for businesses to do business. Lowering taxes and repealing unnecessary regulation helps to create a climate where a business can take risks.

The administration has raised taxes on business, and on small business, and at the same time increased regulation, which has increased costs of energy, raw materials, and simply the cost of doing business. Obama has poured money into “green” businesses run by his campaign contributors, unworkable schemes for “green jobs,” Every agency has been empowered to increase regulation, and over-criminalization is running amok.

Growing a business, hiring people, expanding are all risky propositions. Businessmen take that risk when they have confidence that it is likely to pay off. When they have no idea what is coming next, they don’t take any risks — they hunker down trying to avoid getting noticed. They don’t expand, they don’t hire, and the economy winds down further. It is really amazing that one administration could make such a colossal mess of it, and do so much damage to the lives of the American people.



Government Spending Does Not Create Jobs! by The Elephant's Child

Remember Nancy Pelosi announcing that Unemployment benefit payments created jobs? Paraphrased, but another leftist assurance that if we just pump money into the economy like Lord Keynes said, then there would be this magical multiplier effect which would multiply each dollar of “investment.” She couldn’t explain how it worked but she was just ever so sure that it did.

Capt. Capitalism Graph
Well, there you go. Government spending does not, does not, contribute to economic growth. The government has no money of its own. It gets the money it spends from taxpayers’ pockets. Then it has to pay a bunch of bureaucrats before it gets pumped into the economy. Where is this magic “multiplier effect” supposed to come from? Captain Capitalism puts it even more fortuitously:

It’s very simple – government spending does not, in fact, contribute to economic growth.  It takes away from economic growth and merely redistributes wealth with a production or efficiency loss.

If you look at what leftists and Keynesians advocate, they advocate merely moving money around in the economy to get things “shaking up a bit” in the childish and naive hopes this jostling will get the economy going again.  The problem is this “shaking things up a bit” means taking money from productive people (or the future via borrowing) and giving it to Barack Obama’s biggest supporters – economically worthless, productionless parasites.

Or Graham Tanaka, president and chief economist of Tanaka Capital Management points out that there is clear data:  The more federal dollars spent , the higher the unemployment rate. There is an inverse relationship between the size of government and jobs.

Since 1970, all six instances when our government got larger as a percent of GDP, the unemployment rate went higher. All six times when government got smaller as a percent of GDP, our unemployment rate went lower.

 



It’s Hard to Make Big Decisions, And To Make Them Honorably. by The Elephant's Child

On Saturday, President Obama spoke briefly to reporters, in the Rose Garden, about his decision to strike militarily at Syria in response the their gassing of 1500 Syrians and women and children, and to request authorization from Congress — then headed for the golf course.

Congress has no plans to cut short their 30 day vacation, the president did not call lawmakers back into session. No urgency. Military assets are in place, and ready for him to take action any time, no rush.

At the Washington Times, Joseph Curl says:

The first rule for President Obama: It’s all about 2014. The second rule for President Obama: See Rule No. 1.

Make no mistake: The president couldn’t care less about the plight of Syrians, the 1,500 gassed to death — including nearly 500 children. It’s all about 2014. Win the House, reign supreme. …

The conventional wisdom is, as usual, wrong. Losing the congressional vote won’t be an embarrassment for the president, as all the talking heads are still parroting. A loss would be a double win. First, because a “No” vote would allow the foreign policy neophyte to walk away from his blundering “red line” declaration on chemical weapons (“I wanted to go in, but Congress said no”). And second, should Republicans who voted for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now oppose Syria, the president would be armed with clear “evidence” that their opposition is purely political.

Victor Davis Hanson says that “Obama Indicts Obama:”

One of the problems that Barack Obama has in mounting an attack against the Assad regime is that the gambit violates every argument Barack Obama used against the Bush administration to establish his own anti-war candidacy.

The hypocrisy is so stunning that it infuriates his critics and stuns his supporters.

Deriding the Iraq war was Obama’s signature selling point. He used it to great effect against both Hillary Clinton (who voted for the war) in the Democratic primaries and John McCain in the general election. For the last five years, disparagement of “Iraq” and “Bush” has seemed to intrude into almost every sentence the president utters.

And now? His sudden pro-war stance makes a number of hypocritical assumptions. First, the U.S. president can attack a sovereign nation without authorization from Congress (unlike the Iraq war when George W. Bush obtained authorization from both houses of Congress). Even if Obama gets a no vote, he said that he reserves the right to strike.

At the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin points out that “Obama’s politicizing national security:”

Democrats routinely accused President George W. Bush of “politicizing” national security, meaning that he allegedly would use national security success to bolster his political standing. Not only has President Obama exceeded that by leaps and bounds, by continually boasting about killing Osama bin Laden (and setting al-Qaeda back on its heels), but he has dragged domestic partisanship into national security. That is far more dangerous and inappropriate than anything Bush ever imagined.

Three important pieces for understanding the case of Syria. Is it a humanitarian necessity, a political ploy or simply about the 2014 election? Obama may be trying casually to trap Republicans and make them look bad, but if so how can you put American lives at risk?




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