American Elephants

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You This Is The “New Normal.” by The Elephant's Child

I want to quote AEI’s James Pethokoukis here:

Nations probably never choose decline, at least not consciously. More likely they become victims of a creeping normalcy. Things once objectionable can become passively acceptable if they happen slowly, incrementally: the boiling-frog syndrome. Decline just sort of happens, year by year, decade by decade, one “meh” economic report at a time.

The important phrase is “creeping normalcy,” accepting as normal and natural a situation that is anything but. Obama has had four years, going on five, of over 7% unemployment. That is neither normal nor acceptable. When the Labor Department reported a decline in GDP and a rise in the unemployment rate to 7.9%, we should be angry about it. It doesn’t need to be this way. We have a history of successful recovery from downturns, and we know how to do it.

The economy added 157,000 net new jobs. Obama apparently sees this as progress, but at that rate of job creation, all else being equal, the economy would not return to 4.4% —the George W. Bush administration’s low point — for another eight years.

A president actually concerned about growth would have followed some of the recommendations of his Jobs and Competitiveness Council. He would have approved a pipeline. He would have expanded domestic oil and gas drilling, and fixed the corporate tax code. He would have put a brake on new regulation. Of all the things that may be wrong with our economy, a lack of enough regulation is not one of them.

This is not the new normal. This is the result of deliberate choices by a president who values payback for his supporters more highly than creating jobs. When something goes on too long without real signs of progress, it’s easy to slide into thinking that this is just the way it is, and it will always be like this, Do not accept sluggish growth and high unemployment as normal. This is not normal, it is defeatism. Fight back.


More Unemployment, More Misery, More Spin. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama made these remarks this morning in Hilliard, Ohio, at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

We rise or fall as one nation and as one people.

And that spirit is what’s guided this country for more than two centuries — that idea that we’re in this together.  It’s carried us through the trials and tribulations of the last 200-something years, but also the last four years.  In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  And today, our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs; and this morning, we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.

The American auto industry is back on top.  Home values and housing construction is on the rise.  We’re less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in 20 years.  Because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over.  The war in Afghanistan is ending.  Al Qaeda has been decimated.  Osama bin Laden is dead.   We have made real progress.

This is typical Obama. It is also typical spin. The economic crisis in 2008 was not the worst since the Great Depression. It was bad, but, but not the worst recession, and Obama proceeded directly to making it worse, with a stimulus that accomplished nothing at all, except to reward supporters and enhance government.

Those 5.5 million jobs must be offset by the numbers of people who have dropped out of the labor force, and the natural increase in the labor force from immigration and new entrants. The net jobs created works out to only around 350,000.  For every 1 person added to the labor force since January 2009. 10 people were added to those no longer in the labor force. This morning we learned that the unemployment rate increased again, and if you subtract those no longer in the labor force, there is hardly any increase at all.

The American auto industry is not back on top, and they still owe taxpayers billions. Home values are recovering a little. We are less dependent on “foreign oil” because we are using a lot less energy because of the recession, and we are producing more oil on private lands with horizontal fracking on shale deposits — not on federal lands because the federal government has refused over and over to grant drilling permits. President George W. Bush won the war in Iraq. The Obama administration because they failed to get a status of forces agreement, may well have lost the victory. And if you want a little understanding of Afghanistan, ask Michael Yon. Osama bin Laden is dead, but al Qaeda is alive and resurgent— see Benghazi.

I am not calling the president a liar. He is presenting his case in terms favorable to him. Sometimes we call it “spin.” It’s hard to draw an exact line between spin and falsehood, and all politicians try to portray reality in a way favorable to their side, but there are, or should be, limits. More of the same simply will not answer.

When we despair over the number of people on food stamps, it’s not because we want to deprive anyone of food stamps — we want them to have good jobs and not have any need for food stamps. That would be real progress.

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