American Elephants

Joblessness Is Not a Mystery. It’s Caused by the Government. by The Elephant's Child

Robert J. Samuelson has a column today at Investors, titled “Joblessness is Top Problem, But No One Has An Answer,” Columnists usually don’t write their own titles, but the title reflects the content.

The official jobless rate is 7.9%, but it would be 14.4% if it included part-timers who’d like full-time work and discouraged workers who have stopped looking, notes Janet Yellen, vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Board.

Scarce jobs are the nation’s first, second and third most important economic and social problem.

What’s especially disheartening and mystifying is that, until now, job creation was considered an inherent strength of the American economy.

Well, it’s obviously just “The New Normal.” Samuelson is a lefty, but usually a somewhat sensible one. I expected better.

Individual businessmen, small business owners, manufacturers, economists, business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and others  have all been quite vocal about what is keeping them from creating jobs, growing and expanding. It’s the federal government.

We have the highest corporate taxes in the industrialized world. The flow of regulation from almost every federal department has increased dramatically. No one knows what regulation they might suddenly fall afoul of.  And overcriminalization is rampant. Businesses are ruined, and their owners put in jail for regulations they didn’t know existed, or for over-zealous prosecution.

Obama has, through the Interior Department and through Fish and Wildlife and through the EPA destroyed whole businesses, robbed people of their livelihoods. SWAT teams are sent in to terrorize innocent people. And above all, the implementation of ObamaCare is forcing companies to let workers go, or to shift full-time workers to part-time, because of the absolute unworkable mess of a law, and the hugely increasing costs on business. If you increase the cost of doing business, businesses are forced to hire fewer people.

Obama has a fixed idea that global warming is a fact (it’s not), that it is caused by CO2 from fossil fuels (it’s not), and that he must save the world from its depredations by shutting down the oil and gas industry to be replaced by “clean energy” from wind and solar. (not possible).

He said he wants to bankrupt the coal industry, and  I’ve lost track of how many coal-fired power plants he has caused to be shut down, with the communities who depend on them. Coal, he believes, is dirty, However a new process for producing energy from coal promises to be cheap and clean.

Wind and solar energy are not cost-effective, and without massive government subsidy, would not exist. The two combined still represent only a tiny part of national energy needs. Obama’s dream of complete reliance on green energy is a pipedream.

America is awash in cheap energy. Obama has attempted to shut down oil from the Gulf. He has closed off most federal lands from potential drilling, including the land set aside for oil and gas production in Alaska. He has refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline (20,000 jobs).

If you want a growing, prospering economy, you need cheap energy. Energy drives every sector of the economy. Obama has striven to raise the cost of energy in the belief that higher costs would make people favor wind and solar energy more. His misguided beliefs about energy are a major reason for American unemployment.
Mr. Samuelson quotes Obama’s favorite figure of the economy having generated 5.5 million jobs, but admits that the official jobless rate of 7.9% would be 14.4% if you included the discouraged workers who have stopped looking. What he doesn’t mention is that the potential work force is always growing as the population increases. The economy would have to add a minimum of 200,000 new jobs each month to keep up with the growing number of people in the potential labor force.  It’s not improving.

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