American Elephants


Best Monthly Jobs Numbers in History! by The Elephant's Child

Fabulous jobs numbers for June — 4.8 million jobs added for the best monthly employment numbers in history.

That is so encouraging when so many small businesses had to shut down in the Covid epidemic, as small businesses couldn’t cope with the shutdowns. But the country is slowly opening up.  People are getting accustomed to wearing masks when necessary. We are learning how to deal with a pandemic, working from home, avoiding large groups, and the numbers of deaths are declining, with a bump up from the protests.

President Trump is working hard at getting rid of unnecessary regulation, which can be a real boon for business. It is always tempting for those in charge to want to control things, but it is a very bad idea. Control what is essential, not everything. And whether you are in government or among the employers, large and small, remember always that the government has no money of its own. None. Every cent comes out of the pocketbooks of the taxpayers. When those in control get too controlling, everything shuts down. The more control, the less innovation. The less innovation —and that’s how it goes. Free markets, free people.



Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues. by The Elephant's Child

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“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” unfortunately, that is a statement you hear in every election. But then, sometimes, it’s true.  So do we worry most about — ISIS? The plight of Europe as they can increasingly not cope with the flood of migrants, many of whom are ISIS fighters? Or do we worry about terrorist attacks in our own country? Is it the Zika Virus? Or is it the economy which after over seven and-a half long years has shown little sign of a real recovery. This is really not the new normal.

Republicans are more apt to recall what they learned in school about separation of powers and federalism. Democrats have decided that they are far more interested in controlling the peoople, and that is a problem.

President Obama has maintained a steady course of increasing new regulations, more spending on”infrastructure,” more spending on the chimera of global warming, and through his unconstitutional executive actions, he has backed federal mandates on business, closed a lot of small businesses, increased taxes and in the strange interest of making America just one among the many countries of the world, made America weak. And then there’s the Iran Deal.

The executive actions are a big problem. All presidents do some, but President Obama has carried it to an extreme, and Congress has found it hard to cope. This is the first time we have had a president, schooled by Saul Alinsky, determined to change the country to something that is more in line with his personal vision of social justice, and unconcerned with following custom or the rules.

Republicans are inclined to believe that there is no such thing as “social” justice — that justice is what is embodied in our courts, our body of laws, our Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

Democrats have had a degree of success with “social justice” and the associated ideas of an unjust minimum wage, income inequality, racial injustice, “white privilege,” a War on Cops, excessive incarceration of black perpetrators, too many blacks in prison, thousands of Syrian “refugees” who cannot be vetted are put ahead of those who have waited patiently in line as legal immigrants, and of course “crumbling roads and bridges.” You will notice that most of these are rallying cries in the Democrat campaign.

I continually get the sense that Democrats operate with talking points handed down, and thus do not have to study issues, read, or think seriously about history or the world, or about whether their issues are right or workable or even make sense. Or maybe that’s just Hillary.

They seem to be fixated on an improved version of socialism that will be socially just, totally different from all those other socialisms, and will fix all the dreadful problems of America — as it is. They find the old buildings and their peeling paint and the antique cars in Havana charming, and can’t get it through their heads that it is “charming” because that’s all they have. They completely ignore the devastation in Venezuela where the people are dying from lack of the simplest medicines, and plain starvation. They broke into the zoo to kill a horse to eat, but the animals in the zoo are starving to death too.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay most of the taxes, and on corporations, capital gains, death taxes and stock transactions, without the slightest understanding that will simply deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages and declining productivity. But then, that’s what her economic plan promises. More of Obama’s “success.”

What makes economies grow and prosper are free markets and free people who can work to come up with new ideas and bring them to fruition in their garage or small town or big city. Freedom works small and big miracles every day. Tried and tested for 240 years.



It’s all Falling Apart, Or Is It Just Us? by The Elephant's Child

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Everybody’s angry, we are told. The comments on most websites that discuss the news or politics have turned dark and mean and accusative.  It is a strange political year. Very accomplished Republican governors have dropped out, the people with real qualifications have given up, apparently because the public wants an ‘outsider’, because they no longer trust the ‘insiders’. So we are in the process of choosing a new president. The Democrats’ bench is thin. There are no particularly successful governors, and Democrat run states are basket cases. They have turned to an elderly socialist and an elderly former first lady with many titles and few accomplishments.

I think we misunderstand the “anger” and misplace the blame. We have entered a new age of instant, incomplete, biased, false and true information that we don’t know how to sort or how to manage. Our schools claim to be teaching “critical thinking” but mostly teach “social justice” instead —unfortunately there is no such thing.

Newspapers are dying, but proliferating online. Added to the formal gleanings from the journalism profession, ordinary people are adding their thoughts and opinions on blogs. But who can you trust, and how do you find real information?

Fact-checking websites like Politifact and Snopes have multiplied, but they don’t always get their facts right. Photographs have always been able to deceive, which is why you hate some photographs of yourself, but with Photoshop to alter them, a photograph no longer represents reliable truth. And now there is Twitter for instant connection to the latest in — what? Smart remarks or the latest in real insight? And there’s Facebook for selfies and what you had for dinner last night. And many, many more social media websites, and of course, the Kardashians.

The general impression is that everything is falling apart. America is in retreat internationally as the threats grow. We recognize the threats, but they cannot be called by name. As the terror and attacks increase, we reduce the size and capability of the world’s finest military to its state before World War II. The administration lies. The Media lies. The Constitution is deliberately ignored.

Police are attacked as they attempt to protect the people, cities declare themselves “sanctuary cities” and refuse to obey federal law.  The president releases convicted criminals because convicting people for selling dangerous addictive drugs that ruin lives is racist. Landlords cannot refuse to rent to convicted criminals.

The feminist drive to eliminate gender proceeds and there is no longer sanctuary even in the bathroom. Political correctness is judged more important than accuracy and government is more the problem than any solution. The administration expects to fix human nature by more closely regulating the people, and giving themselves more power.  We know that’s not going to work, but what will?



The Scandal of Obama’s Very Own Slow Recovery by The Elephant's Child

President Obama simply cannot stop doing the things that discourage businesses from hiring, and failing to do the things that wold help improve the employment situation. The biggest downer at present is ObamaCare. The regulations that force businesses to pay for the health care of anyone working 30 hours a week have led, not to a flurry of hiring more people for 40 hour weeks, but to workers being reduced to part-time at 28 hours or less.

Grocery stores operate on a low profit margin, and schedule workers for the hours when the store is busiest. Here, and probably nationwide, more stores are converting to at least partial self-check-out lines. The same for big box stores like Home Depot. Business has never liked being in the health-insurance business, and is using this opportunity to get out of it. Every law, passed in haste, will have unintended consequences. Thoughtful people can anticipate some of them, but things do not work out as expected. In manufacturing plants, more tasks are performed by machines. Who do you call today where you are answered by a human instead of a machine?

The administration has bragged that the economy added 175,000 jobs last month, but the number of job openings actually fell by 118,000 in April. The burning desire of a statist administration is for ever more regulation, ever more control — impulses that create more unemployment. If you refuse to allow the free market to work, you don’t get much work. Economics writer James Pethokoukis plaintively asked recently “Where are the entrepreneurs?”

Starting something new is taking a big risk. People who have a great idea borrow from their home equity, relatives, friends, take out second mortgages and load on debt to start a new business. Why are so many of Obama’s backers looking for subsidies and grants from the government to start a business? To absolve them from the risk of starting on their own.

Free people strive and create; regulated, controlled people hunker down and try to save their money. We have a government at present that wants more people to be dependent on the government. They are paying people to sign others up for food stamps, for welfare, for disability—the help that you are “entitled” to. The thing you won’t see on this chart is the increase in part-time or temporary employment. The problem is not, as is often claimed, available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings — but a broad-based lack of demand for workers. Business is hurting. If you listen carefully to the radio, you will hear all sorts of businesses advertising who have never advertised before.

The administration’s efforts to destroy free market capitalism are perhaps the biggest scandal of all.

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Job Creation and Competitiveness –How Does it Happen? by The Elephant's Child

President Obama ‘s State of the Union speech this next week will emphasize private sector job creation and economic growth. He wants more funding for infrastructure, education and research. Obama is hugely frustrated. The advice he has followed and the policies that have been implemented have not resulted in job creation; and at some level he must understand that all those jobs “saved and created” were hooey.

He has asked Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric Co., to head a new White House board to find ways to foster job growth and competitiveness. The board will replace an existing panel called the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board led by Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker.  Mr. Immelt was also a member of that board.

The purpose of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is to advise the president on “finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally and to attract the best businesses to the United States.”

As the president understands it, government has to invest in business to get them to hire. Our workers need to be educated and trained to be able to compete globally, and the government has to do a better job of getting other countries to bring their businesses to this country. What he is describing would be a  long term process, and one that has little to do with why job growth has not resumed. Those beliefs are what comes of never having held a job in the private sector.

Mr. Immelt is an interesting choice.  In the depth of the financial crisis, GE required a bailout from taxpayers to the tune of  $139 billion for FDIC backing of GE Capital Debt. In 2009 Immelt eliminated 18,000 GE jobs in spite of government stimulus and subsidies. Mr. Immelt has been quite successful in securing government largess to enhance GE’s bottom line.

GE supposedly wrote the bill banning incandescent lightbulbs, and closed their bulb making plants in this country. The new twisty bulbs, universally hated,  which will involve much higher profit for GE will be made in China. GE worked closely with the authors of the Waxman-Markey climate bill to promote cap-and-trade,  and is working to ensure funding for the F136 Engine for GE Aviation. The proportion of GE’s jobs based in the US. has dropped under Jeffrey Immelt.  Is a star rent-seeker the best person to advise on unemployment?

President Obama’s misconceptions, particularly in the area of energy, are doing real damage to his hopes of jobs creation.  He believes that forcing the public to use less fossil fuels will force them to use higher cost “green” energy, which in turn will relieve our dependence on “foreign oil.”  But “green” energy from wind and solar produce only small amounts of very costly electricity — which powers a few of our vastly more expensive lightbulbs.  Petroleum powers our transportation sector.  The higher costs of energy derived from this misconception kill jobs.

If the outer Continental Shelf, ANWR and the Rockies were opened to drilling,  it would add around 530,000 high paying jobs.  Opening up the Marcellus Shales would add another 280,000 jobs.  Development of the Canadian Oil Sands would add something like 249,000 American jobs.  Cheaper oil and natural gas would also help to create jobs.  When you increase costs for an employer, then he is less likely to hire.

The president has stated twice in speeches that CO2 is poisoning the water, suggesting that he is unfamiliar with soda-pop.  The EPA is trying vigorously to treat CO2 as a poison, ignoring the presence of CO2 in Coke, Sprite and Root Beer, as well as its role as one of the basic foundations of life.

The International Energy Association has stated that supplies of natural gas from shale and other unconventional sources could supply the world for at least 250 years. The new technology is changing the entire energy picture, and making the push for inefficient and expensive renewable energy even more useless.

Food prices are climbing rapidly across the world, due to a combination of poor crops, bad weather and ethanol production.  We can’t do anything about the weather, but the insistence on putting our corn crops in our gas tanks is misguided. The EPA is rushing ahead to demand 15% ethanol in gasoline even though studies on its safety have not been done.  EPA’s rush to regulate is putting huge burdens on businesses., The more expensive you make it for business to operate, the fewer people they will hire and the less expansion they will attempt.

The president’s attempts to jumpstart the economy are well-meant:  he is truly anxious to improve the job situation.  History demonstrates over and over that the efforts of government bureaucrats to direct, urge, regulate and control— however well-meant— are the very thing that destroys the spontaneous, unpredictable freedom that encourages entrepreneurs to take a chance, to grow, to risk, to succeed.

The heavier the hand of government, the more that inventive spirit is battened down.  That seems so clear and so simple that it should be obvious. Yet to the regulator, the failure of a regulation to produce the desired effect only means that the regulation should be revised and improved,  just as the failure of a program only means that it needed more money.  They never, never learn.




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