American Elephants


President Obama’s Really, Really Bad Math. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama held a press conference today, and managed to commit a terrible gaffe. He said “the private sector is doing fine.” Here’s the whole quote:

The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

James Pethokoukis, who is very good at this kind of thing, says:

Private-sector jobs have increased by an average of just 105,000 over the past three months and by just 89,000 a month during the entire Obama Recovery.

In 1983 and 1984, during the supply-side Reagan Boom, private sector jobs increased by an average of 292,000 a month. Adjusted for population, that number is more like 375,000 private-sector jobs a month.

(Aside:) I wonder how many people are just turned off, at this point, by more numbers. The efforts to make American students love math have not been very successful, and it may be hereditary. When your kid brings home some math problems that he can’t figure out — how many parents just make the situation worse, and continue a distaste for math in another generation?

To keep it simple, I wrote down this number from a reliable source, I just don’t remember who it was. To keep up with population growth, we would need to add 125,000 new jobs each month. So we would need 1,500,000 new jobs in the last year, so Obama’s job creation came up 700,000 short. Or to take James Pethokoukis’ average number of 89,000 a month — Obama would have needed 1,068,000 jobs in the last year to keep up with his own average.  800,000 just won’t cut it.  Somebody’s math here is wrong.

Somebody apparently alerted Mr. Obama to what he has said in the press conference, so he rushed back for the nearest microphone to say no, he didn’t mean that “the private sector was doing fine.” What he meant was that Congress had to stop being lazy and not doing anything and pass his jobs bill. Congress has no interest in passing his jobs bill, and has rejected his budget unanimously.

The President has held 16 ‘campaign events’ over the last 7 days and flown in Air Force One to 6 states.  More campaign events that all previous presidents, but he likes campaigning, it is the actual job of being president that he doesn’t seem to care for.



If You Want the Economy to Recover, Vote Republican! by American Elephant
October 18, 2010, 11:00 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, News, Politics | Tags: , , , , , ,

More than half of the new jobs created in the past 12 months were in Texas.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the United States from August 2009 to August 2010. Texas created 119,000 jobs during the same period. If every state in the country had performed as well, we’d have created about 1.5 million jobs nationally during the past year, and maybe “stimulus” wouldn’t be such a dirty word.

What does Austin know that Washington doesn’t? At its simplest: Don’t overtax and -spend, keep regulations to a minimum, avoid letting unions and trial lawyers run riot, and display an enormous neon sign saying, “Open for Business.”

“D” is for Depression, “R” is for Recovery.



The Anatomy of a Recession: by The Elephant's Child
January 6, 2010, 1:48 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy | Tags: , ,

Here is a fascinating interactive graphic showing the geography of a recession by unemployment rate per county and how it slowly spreads across the country, beginning in 2007 — nearly a year before the recession began.   From the folks at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Canada Adds 79,100 Jobs. Somebody is Doing Something Right. by The Elephant's Child
December 5, 2009, 3:19 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Politics | Tags: , ,

While the United States lost another 11,000 jobs in November, Canada has added 79,100 jobs, five times more than expected. Their jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent from October’s 8.6 percent.

One very interesting source of jobs up north, is a new $90 million SUV plant owned by — General Motors.



The Recession That Wasn’t by American Elephant

What if Democrats threw a recession and nobody came?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy logged slightly better — but weak — growth in the first quarter, spurred by improved sales of U.S. products overseas. While that’s heartening, the country is still far from being out of the woods.

In fact, a closer look behind the 0.9 percent increase in the gross domestic product during the January-to-March period revealed much caution on the part of consumers who have been clobbered by the housing, credit and financial debacles.

Clobbered by? No, the vast majority of American consumers haven’t been clobbered by the housing, credit and financial debacles — they have been clobbered with them. Clobbered over the head almost daily by a mainstream media determined to elect a Democrat. Contrary to what you hear from the media, it is only a tiny portion of Americans who are in foreclosure — 0.51 percent of homeowners  —  the other 99.49 percent are not. And for the most part, the increase has been among speculators who intentionally jumped into the “house flipping” gold-rush, taking loans they knew they couldn’t afford in the hopes of getting rich quick.

But you wouldn’t know that from the hysterical reporting would you? It’s no wonder consumers are skeptical when on top of increasing gas and food prices, the media are daily insinuating that half the country are losing their homes, and telling us we’re in a recession that the facts don’t bear out.

The fact is that a recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth. So far, we haven’t even experienced one. This past quarters’ 0.9 % growth is up from the previous quarters’ 0.6 % growth. Sluggish, yes, but growth nonetheless.

So what should Americans do in times of economic uncertainty and slow growth?

The last thing they should do is elect politicians who are promising to raise taxes drastically and increase spending by over 900 billion to over a trillion dollars as both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively, have promised to do. The best thing Americans can do is vote such people, virtually all the Democrats, out of office, not in.



Conservatives are happier people! by The Elephant's Child

Who would argue against freedom? We’re Americans, and freedom is our birthright, isn’t it? Surprisingly, a lot of people argue against freedom. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein have a new book out in which they suggest the term “libertarian paternalism” as an alternative to “socialism”. They don’t quite say that, but it clearly is what they have in mind. The book is Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness which Roger Kimball describes thoughtfully at Pajamas Media.

Professors Thaler and Sunstein want to increase the likelihood that people will make the correct decisions that are in their own self interest by giving them little “nudges” here and there. The “correct decisions” are, of course, those that the professors choose. Oddly enough, Liberals seldom grasp the idea that they are infringing upon your freedom. They are only doing it for your own good!

Freedom is, to be sure, frightening. There is no telling what values someone will choose to hold. Decent and well-meaning guardians of values were horrified by the monstrous principles of the Declaration of Independence. It is, of course, out of fear that the guardians preach the inculcation of values, fear of knowledge and thought.

Richard Mitchell

The current crop of Democrats have been telling us, over and over, for months, how completely miserable we are. We have no hope, we are losing jobs, losing income, we cannot get ahead for they keep moving the bar, and we are in the worst depression since the Great Depression. This comes just at the time that economists are declaring the housing crisis over, employment rebounding, growth returning, and the “recession” probably at an end. What a sour bunch.

In the current issue of City Journal, Arthur C. Brooks has an essay Free People Are Happy People, which is based on his new book Gross National Happiness, ” In fact,” he says, “evidence shows that freedom and happiness are strongly linked. But what kind of freedom makes Americans happiest? And what can government best do to promote freedom and help us pursue happiness, as is our inalienable right?”

Freedom and happiness are highly correlated, then; even more significant, several studies have shown that freedom causes happiness….

The data and evidence don’t prove that all kinds of freedom bring equal happiness, or that more freedom is always better than less. For example, what about economic freedom? Pundits and politicians on the left often tell us that a free economy makes for an unhappy population; the disruptions of capitalism make us insecure, and we would prefer the security of generous welfare programs and national health care. But for most people, it turns out, that isn’t true.

Liberals are not happy with this book. (Why am I not surprised) Both book and essay suggest that the Conservative emphasis on liberty makes for happier people. Rejecting the welfare state and rejecting big government pay off. Religious freedom and faith produce happier people. Property rights, freedom to operate a business, trade with other nations (are you paying attention Speaker Pelosi?) ease of investment — all are elements that add to national happiness.

But down inside, you knew that, didn’t you? Freedom is our inalienable right, and free people look to the future with optimism. It’s the people who insist that we are miserable, that the current government is the worst ever, that the country is headed in the wrong direction — and once we feel bad enough, promise that they will make us feel better. They will do all sorts of wonderful things for us, as soon as they raise our taxes, diminish our freedom and take away our liberty — well, then they’ll help us, give us hope and change things. It’s just that the change they have in mind isn’t quite what freedom-loving people had in their minds.




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