American Elephants

Small Business Has No Plans to Hire This Year! by The Elephant's Child

The Small Business Association says that small businesses — defined as companies with fewer than 500 workers — employ about half of the workers in the private sector.  The Chamber of Commerce defines small businesses as firms with revenue of $25 million or less.

In the Chamber’s new survey of  1,409 executives conducted by Harris Interactive,  about two-thirds (64%) said they weren’t expecting to add to their payrolls in the next year.  Another 12% planned to cut jobs.  Only 19% said they would increase their workforce.

More than half of those surveyed said that economic uncertainty was the main reason for holding back.  About a third said poor sales were responsible, and only 7% said that they had problems getting credit.

The executives had confidence in their own companies, but not a lot of confidence in the future of the country.  84% said the U.S. economy was headed in the wrong direction.

These are dismal prospects for the economy. These are vibrant small companies hoping to grow bigger, and economic uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the future keeps them from sitting on their hands.

About 29% of the business executives surveyed had let workers go during the past year. The small number who plan to hire don’t begin to make up for those who have lost their jobs.

Today, the president stormed out of the meeting with Congressional leaders whom he had invited to the White House, saying that he wasn’t going to budge.  David Axlerod warned  Obama when he was first elected that he was unused to criticism and disagreement, and he was going to have to learn to deal with it.  Obama has apparently not learned.

President Obama seems to see governing as defined by spending money on policies.  I heard Obama remark that he couldn’t cut way back on spending — he wouldn’t be able to do anything. (I paraphrase very loosely).  This is an astounding misunderstanding of the nature of governing, but it fits with what he has done, and with his expressed aims.

He has been enthusiastic about government subsidies and grants for makers of electric car batteries, solar panels, insulated windows, electric cars, wind farms and solar arrays.  It is those factories that he has visited most often and most often extolled.  He said recently that he wants an “infrastructure bank.” I thought the failure of government sponsored enterprises was so notable that everyone knew, but apparently not.

The Left has probably never read about the failure of the Soviet Union. They’re not much interested in evidence.

This Is Why I Rant! (In Case You Were Wondering). by The Elephant's Child

I write a lot about Obama’s clean green energy policies, the EPA, wind farms, solar arrays, electric cars, high-speed rail, and twisty lightbulbs, dishwashers that don’t get dishes clean,  washing machines that don’t get clothes clean, restrictive shower heads and other federal restrictions on free Americans.  You can search the Constitution, which spells out those tasks that we assign to the government, and find not one single word delegating the job of regulating these things to the federal government. And the powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people.

It is not, however on a Constitutional basis that I object to administration policies, though that is certainly a reason to complain. I rant because these policies are political in nature, accomplish nothing worthwhile, and are extremely burdensome to the economy and to  the American people.

Back in the 1970s the fear was global cooling, a new ice age, nuclear winter, and overpopulation.  Everything was going to hell, a frigid hell. We weren’t going to have enough food to feed the burgeoning population of the world.  Even China’s one-child population-control policy got its start in 1979.  But the new ice age didn’t come, nuclear winter didn’t come,  and quietly going on in Mexico and America was a green revolution in agriculture, increasing yields of the basic food grains — wheat, rice, barley and corn. Worldwide, people have fewer babies.

Well, Rachel Carson —Silent Spring— pesticides, DDT, the EPA, Smog, the Great Cranberry Scandal, Thalidomide, Alar, environmental activists, an environmental “movement”, Greenpeace, the WWF, Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy and hundreds and hundreds of others. The environmental movement is huge, and ranges from groups that envision a pleasant return to the Pleistocene to vegans and animal rights organizations, as well as eco-terrorist groups like ELF, ALF, Earth First!, Direct Action, and Sea Shepherds, not to mention the late Unibomber.

As with most movements that begin with people concerned about something-or-other, they have a way of growing into passion, radicalism and power-seeking.  In general, the environmental movement doesn’t like modern society, doesn’t like capitalism, thinks there is some special distinction between that which is natural and that which is unnatural? artificial? not natural, and is subject to fuzzy thinking. They are supported by the true-believers, the naive, and major foundations.  Which brings us to global warming.

Once the fear of global cooling died out, there was more interest in climate. I’m not going into the history of the climate scare, but it was noticed that the earth seemed to be warming slightly at the same time that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was increasing. Some scientists pointed out that the increase in global temperature (very slight) preceded the increase in CO2 and CO2 could not be causative, but other scientists pointed out that their computer programs, into which they had entered everything known about climate, clearly stated that everything was going to hell, and the earth was overheating and we were all going to die. Well, who are you going to believe — the folks with the most modern technology or those who claimed that there was no reason to be concerned?

Ozone hole, acid rain, Cuyahoga river on fire, harp seals, animal extinction, snail darters, the hockey stick, glaciers melting, seas rising, Al Gore, Arctic melting, polar bears, Kyoto Protocol, the IPCC, The Inconvenient Truth, and greenhouse gases, in no particular order.

Is it any wonder that the public has been somewhat confused?  Governments suddenly wanted to make all sorts of changes — enormously expensive changes in our lives — and nobody was answering the real questions — like what is the right temperature? Is the climate we have right now the right one, or is the Medieval Warm Period which they say was the finest climate known to man (and way warmer than now) the right one?

The scientists that get sneered at as “deniers” and “skeptics” based their claims on evidence in the real world.  The global warming alarmists are basing their claims on — computer programs that can’t seem to “predict” today’s climate.  The reporters in the media who have done so much to bring us the alarming news about the perils of global warming formed their own “Society of Environmental Journalists” where they learn how to write about the environment, not from scientists, but from each other.

I grew up in the foothills of the Rockies, surrounded by National Forest and BLM land at an altitude of a little over 4000′. Weather was a matter of daily concern, floods , lightning strikes, snowslides,  in ways that are simply not encountered by city people. My dad often had to get up in the middle of the night to plow when it looked like the snow was going to be too deep to plow in the morning.  We lost four buildings to flood one year. Ian Plimer, the celebrated Australian geologist, said that rural people were not apt to be alarmed by global warming, in his experience. And I’m not.

And apparently Barack Obama believes in global warming (or does he?) and wants to be the president who brings America into the 21st century with an economy humming along on clean energy.  After all, wind and solar are free, and natural, and fossil fuels are dirty and unnatural (?),and must be stamped out.

Instead of trying to put people back to work,  Obama  has worked hard to cut back in every way our “dependence” on fossil fuels.  We will learn to like electric cars, and ride high speed rail. We will accept more government regulation of our use of energy and water, and more control of the way we live.  We can assume that Obama really believes that the planet is warming alarmingly and he is going to be the one who saves the world.  Or, perhaps he really believes that the country will hum along on free, clean energy, and America will be the shining example for the world, and he, our very 21st century leader will be celebrated as “the One”. Or maybe it’s just a power-grab.

It just makes no sense to me. We have all sorts of evidence from other countries and from our own that wind energy does not live up to the claims of promoters.  Solar energy is an expensive way to heat water.  The problems are not in 21st century technology, but in the nature of wind and sun. The clean energy society may sound splendid in late-night bull-sessions, but it doesn’t pass muster in the real world.

Real world problems of deficits, budgets, debt-ceilings and spending need real attention.  The economy is being destroyed while this president plays golf and chases airy-fairy dreams. That is why I rant.

The Great Repudiation. by The Elephant's Child

Democrats just suffered the worst repudiation at the polls of any political party since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 (R + 71).  It is greater, according to historian Morton Keller, than Hoover in 1930 (D + 52), Truman in 1946 (R + 55), Eisenhower in 1958 (D + 47), Johnson in 1966 (R + 47), Nixon in 1974 (D + 43), or Clinton in 1994 (R+ 54).

The president acknowledges the “shellacking,” but is sure it is only because economic recovery has not come about fast enough.  He denies that it has anything to do with his policies, such as a wasted stimulus, obscene amounts of spending,  the takeover of the automotive industry, the mishandling of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf,  or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.

President Obama said:

I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster.

This includes tax breaks for small businesses, like deferring taxes on new equipment, so that they’ve got an incentive to expand and hire, as well as tax cuts to make it cheaper for entrepreneurs to start companies.  This includes building new infrastructure, from high-speed trains to high-speed Internet, so that our economy can run faster and smarter.  It includes promoting research and innovation, and creating incentives in growth sectors like the clean energy economy.  And it certainly includes keeping tax rates low for middle-class families and extending unemployment benefits to help those hardest hit by the downturn while generating more demand in the economy.

Businesses don’t need to borrow more money, they need customers.  They need some kind of certainty about what taxes, regulation and rules  their government is going to impose on their operations.  They need government to get out of the way and stop interfering.

The Obama Team is clueless.

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