American Elephants

Six Years Into the “Recovery” And There Still Aren’t Any Jobs. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama’s approval rates are at record lows. Only 26 percent approve of ObamaCare, and Democrats running for re-election have been trying to disassociate themselves from the law as much as possible.

They need a new agenda, and think they have discovered it in rising inequality. Obama has laid out an array of populist proposals: more unemployment insurance, raising the federal minimum wage, giving women “equal pay for equal work”, a perennial favorite already in the law, ignored in the White House—where female staffers are not paid as well as male staffers.

The theory is that Republicans who are vulnerable at the polls can be forced to join them on  these poll-tested issues. It’s good old class warfare, always a winner in desperate situations. But this time it doesn’t seem to be working. People want jobs, not another handout. We are six years into an Obama “recovery” and people still need extensions on their unemployment insurance.

Obama has curiously mastered the art of killing more jobs with every attempt to increase employment. He promotes a national group of manufacturing hubs, as an excellent way to create jobs, but none have gotten off the ground, in spite of taxpayer money invested. At the same time, the EPA continues to shut down coal-fired power stations—killing thousands of jobs.

Vice President Joe Biden did the weekly address while Obama was in Brussels, and began by stating:

There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty. But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year. And you all know that’s incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on.

The minimum wage is a “starter wage” for those who have no skills to offer an employer, but have to learn how to work. The federal poverty level for an individual is $11,670, and someone earning the current federal minimum wage earns more than the federal poverty level. Biden added:

The big difference between giving a raise in the minimum wage instead of a tax break to the very wealthy is the minimum wage worker will go out and spend every penny of it because they’re living on the edge. They’ll spend it in the local economy. They need it to pay their electric bill, put gas in their automobile, to buy fundamental necessities. And this generates economic growth in their communities.

So give money to the poor, vilify the wealthy, because the poor paying their electric bill will stimulate the economy, but the rich building businesses and hiring more workers will not.  There’s the reason why we are in the sixth year of the Obama “recovery” spelled out. Add hundreds of regulations that increase the cost of building businesses and hiring workers, demonstrate with improper use of the IRS that businesses that do not toe the line will be audited, inspected by the ATF, perhaps raided by a SWAT team, and your business practices or your inventory confiscated by the Justice department.

There are enormous numbers of jobs waiting for the president to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, to O.K. the export of liquified natural gas to a needy Europe, and the EPA continues its path of destruction through the entire American economy, and nobody is supposed to notice that they not only kill jobs, but make companies reluctant to take the risk of expanding or hiring.

Kim Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal notes that:

Democrats have also become embarrassingly obvious, talking openly of how this agenda was devised not to help Americans, but to punish Republicans and rally the base. The New York Times’s Wednesday headline baldly read, “Democrats, As Part of Midterm Strategy, to Schedule Votes on Pocketbook Issues,” and quoted Sen. Chuck Schumer promising the vote would “mute” complaints about ObamaCare. Subtle, dudes. …

Democrats aren’t backing off; they are all-in for inequality, and they’re betting that a few more dedicated weeks of hammering Republicans as callous will force some movement. Maybe. But for now Americans seem unconvinced that any of their top concerns—a stalled economy, their health-care woes, the U.S.’s humiliation abroad, government dysfunction, soaring debt—are the result of “inequality.” Their president is talking past them.


Governing by Executive Order? This is Not a Nation of One-Man Rule! by The Elephant's Child


The upcoming State of the Union address is expected to be focused on the economy, so the President is picking up the pace of jobs messages, and attempting to demonstrate how he can advance his economic agenda. The problem, of course, is that presidents cannot create jobs, except by federal hiring, and that just takes more money out of taxpayer pockets.

Jobs are created by businesses confident in their ability to grow and expand, unfettered by excessive regulation and excessive taxation. Mr. Obama clearly believes that he can create jobs if he just speaks forcefully enough to business.

We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said Tuesday as he convened his first Cabinet meeting of the year.

Obama continued: ”And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

Obama’s message to his cabinet is “that we need all hands on deck to build on the recovery that we’re already seeing. The economy is improving, but it can be improving even faster.” The approach is meant to portray Obama as an impatient executive in the face of inaction from Congress, particularly in the Republican-controlled House.

Only through legislation can he get some of the most ambitious items on his economic agenda. He really can’t do it with his pen and phone. Executive orders won’t do it. And hopefully, it won’t get done. He wants a higher minimum wage, which is an unemployment act for young people already suffering from monstrously high unemployment rates. He wants universal preschool, which the results of Head Start, and dozens of careful studies have shown, does not work to give kids a better start in school. It amounts to expensive babysitting.

President Obama’s attempts at job creation have a remarkably poor history. His efforts at killing jobs have been much more successful. If he would just ignore the former and eschew the latter, we’d be better off. Early on there were the shovel-ready jobs and roads and crumbling bridges, crumbling schools too. Then there were all the green jobs that renewable energy would create.

The federal government added job-training programs in home insulation and energy-related stuff. Unfortunately the government was already overloaded with job training programs, mostly duplicative, and run by different departments who were unaware of each other. Few people actually found jobs after the training. The high-speed rail that was going to connect the cities of the Midwest died, and the railroad to nowhere in California is on life-support. The president visited every new manufacturing plant that offered a good photo-op, but his presence and blessings didn’t prevent bankruptcy.

He eliminated the possibility of drilling for oil on all coasts and most federal lands, but privately funded wildcatters went ahead and drilled with new fracking techniques on private land that is the only part of the economy that is actually booming and America is rapidly becoming through their efforts the energy powerhouse of the world. Even at that, 42 percent of our electricity is still produced by coal-fired power plants, which Obama is determined to put out of business with their millions of jobs.

There are things that a president can do with executive orders, but laws are made by Congress— according to the Constitution which Obama promised to preserve, protect and defend. The Executive is supposed to see that the laws are enforced. Americans are slowly becoming aware of the President’s legal end-run around Congress, and they don’t like it. According to a new IBD/TIPP poll, 55% disapprove of such a fiat rule. Americans are hamstrung by their deep respect for the office of the presidency.

Why Can’t Chuck Get His Business off the Ground? by The Elephant's Child

H/T: Carpe Diem)

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