American Elephants

“If We Build It They Will Come” * by The Elephant's Child

I’ve been puzzling over President Obama’s idea that you cure the recession and unemployment and return towards full employment by “building out from the middle class.” How does that work? If I understand his speech correctly, if you build new infrastructure, rebuild crumbling bridges, improve port facilities, then somehow magically, the middle class will arise again.

My America is a classless society. The classes derive from the Treasury Department which divides the American people into five classes —poor, lower-middle, middle, upper-middle, and rich — for statistical purposes, to see how the population is doing. The United States has always been an opportunity society, and people move through the so-called classes as they get older, more accomplished, get better jobs, or rise in their careers, hopefully save their money, and slide back as they retire and have less income.

Liberals have never understood this. Their goal is to win elections. This is accomplished by giving entitlements to the poor to make them dependent on the government, and thus become a base upon which Liberals can depend to win elections.

Liberals regard the American economy as a pie. If the rich get too much of the money, there’s nothing left over for the poor who will suffer. But the economy is not a pie, and grows to accommodate the need for money. If someone gets very rich it does not affect the opportunity for anyone else. The very rich, because they have more money to spend, create jobs for others. If you raise their taxes high enough to make them equal to everyone else, they no longer create jobs and probably pick up and move to somewhere where their ability to create jobs is more appreciated.

The Left believes that recessions are caused by a lack of demand, and if people just have enough money to buy stuff (demand) the economy will recover. Franklin Roosevelt called it “underconsumption” but it didn’t work for him either. So we’re still left with the question of how we get to that growing middle class that was” the engine of our prosperity” in the period after World War II. We’re back at the “If we build it they will come” theory. But where they are coming from and who they are is not addressed— unless it is solved by passing the Senate Immigration bill.

Clearly Obama has no idea of all the things he has done in the past five years to destroy jobs:

  • The auto company bailout destroyed thousands of jobs, caused a huge loss for taxpayers, shut down hundreds of private companies, auto dealers, for no reason. Jobs were lost at all sorts of companies who were suppliers to the industry.
  • The oil industry and the communities who supported it were decimated by the unnecessary extended shutdown after the Deepwater Horizon accident. Many rigs left for other countries where they were treated more reasonably.
  • The government’s investment in wind and solar proved only that they remain a miniscule portion of our energy supplies, the “green jobs” were a pipe dream and  most of the solar companies have gone bankrupt, and we were never “addicted” to foreign oil.
  • The Keystone XL pipeline promised 20,000 jobs and thousands of spin-off jobs as well
  • The pursuit of “green jobs” was a total loss. There are no net green jobs, and the government was reduced to including janitors, bus drivers, and other totally unrelated occupations to make up phony numbers.
  • A big tax in ObamaCare on medical equipment has put many companies out of business and killed thousands of jobs.

That’s just a few that come quickly to mind. The numbers of jobs lost due to over-regulation is mind-boggling. The EPA proudly announces that they don’t have to account for unemployment caused by their regulations. They have expanded far beyond their assigned task of seeing that we have clean air and clean water into territory where they have no legal business, and invent statistics to justify their overreach.

*The line, slightly misquoted, comes from the movie “Field of  Dreams.” Not to be confused with “You Didn’t Build That,” a previous Obama quotation.

Not My Fault, Says Obama, It’s the Stalemate in Washington. by The Elephant's Child

In this week’s weekly address, President Obama told the American people that the “stalemate in Washington is holding our economy back during this make-or-break moment for the middle class.”Uh huh. Translation:”The Republicans won’t pass my jobs bill.’ He’s sent his bill over to Congress twice now, and it has been unanimously rejected twice. “Unanimously” means that none of the Democrats would vote for it either.

The president doesn’t seem to know how jobs are created, and even the part of his jobs bill that has passed, the temporary continuation of the cut in the payroll tax, goes to those who are working, and have jobs.  They will get a little more in their  pay envelopes, but  it will do nothing whatsoever to create jobs. It does, however, cut back on what those receiving the money eventually get from Social Security.

I assume that this goes back to the Democrats fixed idea that if you just put more money into the economy, there will be a multiplier effect as the money (taxpayer money)  circulates through the economy and passes from hand to hand.  If there is such an effect, it is very small, but it is a matter of faith to the left.

History shows that the money that individuals and businesses invest and spend, if left alone to do so, generates far more wealth and new jobs than any government-directed spending.  The most successful cities and states dedicate their resources in creating the kind of conditions that attract private investment rather than pouring public money into centrally planned visions of economic development.
(Brian Anderson City Journal, Autumn 2001)

Obama repeated his idea that Congress should pass a bill to help states put thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers back on the job. And he wants a bill to put union construction workers back to work building his fabled infrastructure — those crumbling roads and bridges and runways.

Public school employment has climbed by nearly 100% since 1970, while the enrollment of pupils has only climbed by about 10%. We seem to be overloaded with school administrators, yet the left persists.  And class sizes have dropped by 40 percent since 1960, but class size remains a constant issue.

If the states, struggling to balance their budgets, have laid off teachers, firefighters or police, that is a choice that they made. It is not up to the federal government to use taxpayer money to rehire employees that the states have decided they can’t afford to pay.

After Solyndra and all the other bankrupt “green energy” companies, he want more tax credits for clean energy manufacturers? I’m afraid the president is indeed a slow learner. Ryan Lizza, writing in the New Yorker says that President Obama plans to make climate change his top priority for his second term.

“Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda. The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change,” supposedly to “improve the world.”

Obama’s belief in big government goes deep. He seems to hold the private sector in contempt. According to David Maraniss’s new biography Barack Obama: The Story, Obama did work in the private sector for a year, writing newsletters for American companies doing business abroad. He hated it. He quit after fulfilling his initial one year commitment. He had no prospects, but wanted to do public sector work.

Obama’s work in the public sector took place in Chicago, where those in the public sector help each other. You do nice things for your friends and they do nice things for you, and the taxpayers have the benefit of paying for it all.

There is a stalemate between the two parties. Some claim that both parties have moved to extremes. Certainly the Democratic party has been in the hands of the hard left, but Democrats’ idea that the Tea Party is something extreme is laughable. Surely some nice grey-haired ladies carrying signs and Gadsden flags aren’t that scary, are they? Although Obama did call out a Swat team to deal with them in Ohio. The Tea Party Patriots wanted more respect for the Constitution and adherence to it, obviously a radical position.

The Constitution is “extreme” to the hard left. They are offended that it has not been changed enough to be more compatible with their current thinking. Their prominent legal scholars would prefer a “living” constitution — one that is more in line with their ideas. Some think we should pay more attention to European law. You will notice headline news  concerns “Citizens United” — a Supreme Court decision protecting free speech, and another upcoming Supreme Court case again involving the First Amendment, and the protection of Freedom of Religion. This not a dusty old discussion, but important today.

Most Americans believe the Constitution has served us well. It has only been amended twenty-seven times in 225 years. The president took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. That oath neither changes nor is modified simply because this is an election year.

Why Do They Always Say “Unexpectedly?” I Expected It, Didn’t You? by The Elephant's Child

Unexpectedly. new claims for unemployment insurance rose last week, climbing past the 400,000 mark as the jobs market continued to show signs of weakness.  Weekly applications for benefits rose by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000 for three straight weeks.

Economists projected that employers added a net 125,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 9 percent for the second straight month.  This is barely enough to keep up with population growth.  Applications would need to stay below 375,000 consistently to push down the unemployment rate.

This is the report from CNBC, and the government report on job growth will come out tomorrow.  The emphasis from the media is always on new claims for unemployment insurance, which doesn’t cover those who have run out of benefits and those who have quit looking or those who are working a couple of part-time jobs. They seem to have trouble separating new government jobs from new jobs in the private sector and the pace and reality of government actions that prevent job creation just escape the media entirely.

Republicans have been generously explaining how jobs are created for three years now, but unexpectedly, Democrats continue failing to understand how joblessness comes about.

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