American Elephants

They Remain Singularly Uninterested in How Jobs Are Created. by The Elephant's Child

How goes the recovery? Are things improving? The United States now has the highest corporate taxes in the world.  Japan did have that honor, but they dropped their corporate tax rate from 39.6 percent  down to 36.8 percent.  (The U.S. rate includes the 36 percent federal rate plus the average rate the state add on.)

This disparity means that every other country that we compete with for new investment is better situated to land that new investment and the jobs that come with it— because the after-tax return from that investment promises to be higher in countries with lower taxes. The higher rate makes our businesses prime targets for takeovers by businesses headquartered  in lower-taxed nations. Until Congress cuts the rate, more and more U.S. businesses will be bought by their foreign competitors.

On March 28, Vice President Joe Biden declared in an Iowa speech that “manufacturing is back.” Mr. Biden is given to rosy pictures. He overstated — by 1.1 million — the number of manufacturing jobs lost before President Obama took office. He said that the U.S. lost 5.8 million manufacturing jobs “during the 2000s, before we came in.” But that figure includes 2009 , Obama’s first year in office.  The U.S. lost 4.7 million jobs “before we came in.”

Manufacturing jobs represent a disproportionate share of job losses since Obama took office.  The U.S. has lost a net 864,000 non-farm jobs since January 2009. A recent study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a bipartisan think tank—says that at the current slow pace, “it would take until 2020 to return to where the economy was in terms of manufacturing jobs at the end of 2007.

According to James Pethokoukis there is still an enormous hole in the jobs market: it would take 15 million net new jobs to restore the ratio of employed people to total population to where it was in 2007, before the ‘Great Recession.’ Yet much as Mr. Obama and Mr Biden like to claim a vast recovery in manufacturing jobs, in the automobile market, an all the ‘green jobs”— they remain singularly uninterested in how jobs are created.

President Obama asserted Friday that “You’re-on-your-own economics” doesn’t work, just as the World Bank reported that world poverty had been halved, mainly due to — you’re-on-your-own economics.

“The American story is not just about what we do on our own,” the president said. ‘We have always understood that we wouldn’t win the race for new jobs and businesses and middle class security if we were just applying some you’re-on-your-own economics. It’s been tried in history and it hasn’t worked. It didn’t work when we tried it in the decade before the Great Depression. It didn’t work when we tried it in the last decade.”

Obama has more than a little trouble with history. Either he never took a course in history, or he was one of those who carried around copies of Howard Zinn’s little red history of the United States, or some of Noam Chomsky’s books. He apparently never heard of “the Roaring 20s”

That’s right, global poverty has been slashed in half. It started with the advent of free markets in Chile in 1975, gained speed with the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions, took off with the Asian Tiger states and has been crescendo-ing around the globe ever since.

It means that the number of people who live in rock-bottom poverty — less than $1.25 a day — has tumbled from 1.94 billion people in 1981 to just 1.29 billion today. The World Bank did exhaustive research for this, using over 850 household surveys in nearly 130 countries.

Anyone who travels to countries like Peru, Poland, Indonesia, Colombia, Thailand, Hungary, South Africa, Chile, Tanzania and India knows very well that things aren’t what they used to be. Vast middle classes have formed, education is booming, business is up and many of their cities no longer resemble the Third World.

It’s well established that Obama doesn’t understand the crippling effect over-regulation has on the economy. Of course he gets to tell everyone how to run their businesses and their lives.  That’s why he was elected, to essentially transform America. But you would think that the jobs lost when his well-subsidized green energy companies go bankrupt, when he shuts down permitting in the Gulf, and of course, when he denied the Keystone XL pipeline opportunity to create thousands of high-paying jobs. So, he is either not very bright and cannot put 2 and 2 together: or he simply is not concerned about American jobs or creating an economy that actually is recovering.


Where Has All the Money Gone? Long Time Squandered! by The Elephant's Child

You will notice that the purple section of the pie chart is missing.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report claiming that the $814 billion “stimulus” has added 3.5 million net jobs —astounding the 3.5 million Americans who have lost their  jobs and remained unemployed since the stimulus was enacted in February 2009.  The CBO has to work with the statistics they are given, and what they were given came out of Keynesian computerized economic programs.

The Beltway is the most prosperous area of the country,while across the nation it takes $2 million to create a pothole-filling job. Never before in history has Washington spent so much to get so little real work.

This last week, we have the example revealed of disappointing employment generation in how $111 million in stimulus money has so far funded just 55 public-works jobs in Los Angeles.  City Controller Wendy Gruel says that two municipal departments, Public Works and Transportation, plan eventually to create or save 264 jobs with that money, but the contracting process is so slow that most of the money is still waiting to be spent.

So the price tag per job is up to $2 million .  Even if the city departments meet their target of 264 jobs with that money, the price tag will drop to only $420,000 per job.  Even overpaid workers won’t actually get that much.  Some of the money goes to capital costs and to contractors profits, and some of it goes to the normal process of government contracting. Bureaucrats have no particular need to push things through quickly, weeks or  months late make no difference.

Vice President Joe Biden cited an example on Friday in which the New York City Department of Transportation is spending $175 million to renovate bridges and a parking lot, putting all of 129 people to work.  That adds up to $1.46 million per job.  A project in Ohio that’s on Biden’s list  cost $138 million and created 300 jobs that cost $460,000 per worker.

I know math is hard, but this is ridiculous.  $111 million divided by 55 is more than embarrassing, it’s scandalous.  Operating on way too much hope here and too little change.

The Art of Controlling the Public Vocabulary. Sometimes Called Propaganda. by The Elephant's Child

Vice President Joe Biden recently announced that he didn’t think that the terrorists were able to pull off another attack like the attack on the twin towers on 9/11. “They are, in fact, not able to do anything remotely like they were able to do in the past.” And the Iraq War was lost many moons ago and anyway it should be divided into three states.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs assured us that Iran’s claims about nuclear enrichment were not matched by reality.

“The Iranian nuclear program has undergone a series of problems throughout the year; we do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching.

The notably reluctant UN just belatedly announced that the Iranian theocracy is focused very seriously on obtaining a warhead.

Victor Davis Hanson notes in a post at the Corner:

This administration has a particularly bad record of prognostication (cf. last year’s assurances on the unemployment rate, the number of jobs saved or created, the size of the deficit, etc.).

This administration has an even worse record of consistency, e.g., former fat cats on Wall Street are now wealth producers; once-taboo nuclear power is now viable; KSM will/will not be tried in New York; previously anti-Constitutional protocols from renditions, tribunals and wiretaps to Predators, Iraq, and Guantanamo are now apparently acceptable anti-terrorism methodologies.  I am sure that, if need be, they with blithely and without embarrassment offer us a new narrative in which, in fact, al-Qaeda is still dangerous in the 9/11 sense and Iran is most assuredly is close to getting a bomb.

This is usually called “hubris.” Joe Biden’s most consistent record is one of being wrong on almost everything.   He said Dick Cheney has not given President Obama credit for killing dozens of al Qaeda  leaders in what he characterized as a more aggressive fight against terrorism than was waged under the Bush administration. One of  Vice President Cheney’s consistent criticisms it that Obama is not treating the fight against terrorism as a war.

Biden responded: “The President of the United States said in the State of the Union, ‘We’re at war with al Qaeda.’ He stated this — and by the way, we’re pursuing that war with a vigor like it’s never been seen before.”

In the meantime, the Iraq War has — a new name.  No longer Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Obama administration has decided to call it “Operation New Dawn.” Defense Secretary Gates said:

Gates writes that by changing the name at the same time as the change of mission — the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops — the US is sending “a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission.”

The move, Gates writes, “also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

As Jonah Goldberg said ” I guess “Operation Defend Biden’s Gaffe” was too blunt.

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