Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Net job impact of stimulus zero, from SF Federal Reserve study

A study by Daniel J. Wilson of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, suggests that the net job creation from the $814 billion stimulus bill passed in February, 2009, was zero by August 2010. In the first year, the stimulus "saved or created" 2 million jobs (not 4 million as repeatedly claimed by the Administration), but this number proved to be short lived, paying for temporary jobs, at a very high cost of $400,000 per job "saved or created."

By August, 2010, the impact of the stimulus on net job creation had disappeared. This is an astounding result, which destroys the Paul Krugman argument that the economy would be so much better right now, if only Congress had approved much more spending in February 2009. Double the initial spending, double the number of temporary jobs, with likely the same net result by this point in time, or a trivial number of "permanent jobs created . In fact, the unemployment rate is at a substantially higher percentage rate today at 9.8% than when the stimulus bill was passed. The E21 team concludes

"The results suggest that though the program did result in 2 million jobs "created or saved" by March 2010, net job creation was statistically indistinguishable from zero by August of this year. Taken at face value, this would suggest that the stimulus program (with an overall cost of $814 billion) worked only to generate temporary jobs at a cost of over $400,000 per worker. Even if the stimulus had in fact generated this level of employment as a durable outcome, it would still have been an extremely expensive way to generate employment.



Dems Are Asking: Will Issa Go Too Far?

They fear having their own tactics used on them

Lurita Doan

Many within the White House seem fearful about the intentions of Darrell Issa. As the incoming Chairman of the House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform, Issa will have full power to open investigations into government operations and questionable programs. Media expert, Howard Kurtz, knows full well the power Issa will wield, and his article in the Daily Beast asks the question that is on the minds of many Democrats: Will Darrell Issa “go too far” as the incoming Chairman of the Committee of Oversight? A superb question, for the nation was given a clear example of excessive, mean-spirited, oftentimes petty use of oversight powers by Henry Waxman.

Democrats are wondering whether Issa will behave more responsibly and focus the committee’s attention on legitimate areas of concern and poorly performing government programs, rather than on punishing political adversaries for narrow political gains as did Henry Waxman. Having worked with both congressmen, I can say that Darrell Issa is an honest patriot that actually wants government to work more efficiently. Issa knows firsthand from the Waxman years the damage that can done by an irresponsible chairman.

Henry Waxman developed the playbook for many Democrat-led show trials during the Bush Administration. The pattern was always the same because it worked brilliantly and successfully trashed the reputations of many. The most common steps in the Waxman playbook are to leak information to the mainstream media, issue “invitations” to hearings based on the media coverage, refuse to meet with the government officials prior to the hearing, verbally attack family members of the witness, exclude the Minority members from meetings, hold hearings on a topic slightly different than what is cited in the “invitation’ so the witness isn’t fully prepared, have each Majority member spend the five minutes of Q&A making bombastic statements that use all but 30 seconds of the time allocated so that the witness is unable to completely rebut the accusations and, cite testimony and evidence as proof, which neither the witness nor the Minority committee members have had time or access to review. In short, Waxman perfected the modern day kangaroo court and served as its master of ceremonies.

Waxman didn’t care a fig about ferreting out poorly performing programs and wasteful spending. Indeed, many participants in his show trials tried, in vain, to provide Waxman with background data that he simply did not understand nor was interested in learning. Instead, Waxman’s focus was the propaganda value of the show trials he orchestrated.

Considerable effort was put into capturing C-Span and private video tapings which were then carefully edited by the Majority to control the public’s impression of the hearing. These edited segments, which omitted facts Waxman was eager to suppress, but advanced favorite Democratic attack lines, were then placed on You Tube. Thus, with some backhanded editing and misdirection, Democrat loyalists of Henry Waxman gained valuable free ads to use in their campaign commercials —all at taxpayer expense.

But it important to note that a Waxman oversight committee lynching, a true circus, also depended on a compliant victim, often too astounded at the brazen daring of ill-informed committee members, and often, under the illusion that the hearing was about finding out facts.

The compliant victim is often unwilling to fully expose the ignorance of congressmen, especially the chairman, whom the witness often believes deserves respect due to the office. And, the members, in turn, are counting on the civility of the witness to ensure that their ignorance will never be exposed. How can Americans tell when one of these kinds of show trials is occurring? Here’s another clue.

You will see a congressional staffer scuttling behind committee members with little slips of paper on which questions have been written. Remember, the members haven’t read the material, so the Majority staff often distributes comments, questions and talking points for the member to parrot. Like many Americans, Darrel Issa became appalled and disgusted with Henry Waxman’s dishonest kangaroo courts.

No doubt, too, as he now assumes the job as Majority Leader, Issa hopes to raise the bar and provide the nation with a more responsible example of how the Oversight Committee conducts itself under his leadership.

I expect great things from Issa’s committee and am hopeful that, at long last, we can watch a congressional hearing and take pride in our democracy in action. After all, aggressive oversight is important to protect the American taxpayer and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent well. But, oversight which relies on bullying and manipulating facts is abusive, un-American, and shameful.

So that may be why the White House is nervous. Obama and his staff are likely worried that the same kangaroo court mentality that Henry Waxman used to unfairly bludgeon the Bush Administration will be continued by Darell Issa. I understand the fear, but Obama can relax. Congressman Issa is a better man than Henry Waxman.



Elites Should Blame themselves, Not Obama, for Believing His Messianic Pretensions

They are finding it hard to face the fact that they were conned by a smooth talker

David Limbaugh

Have you noticed the desperate agony among the Obama-supporting elite upon realizing that he is not quite the messiah he made himself out to be and as which they willingly embraced him?

Many leftists are disgusted with Obama for supposedly betraying the cause on a number of issues, which tells us how irredeemably liberal they are. But their sense of betrayal runs deeper than ideology.

It's not just their belief that he's abandoned them on numerous policy issues. It's also their belated discovery that he's not superman.

So we're witnessing a number of liberal and conservative elites scapegoating Obama for their own foolishness in deifying him. I say "scapegoating" because no one has a reasonable right to rely on another person's self-portrayal as messianic. If they bought into his claims to personal transcendence, then they are more culpable than he is, and their anger is transferred hostility, redirected from themselves to the now-exposed mortal.

The elites' investing of supernatural hope in Obama was a product of their worldview, which diminishes, perhaps even erases, God's role and looks to man for salvation. Their subsequent deflation was inevitable because no mere human being is transcendent.

My assessment gains further credibility when you consider that some of these former Obama disciples are still torn, not quite willing to let go just yet of their fantastical expectations -- their faith. So in their essays, we can detect both resentment and a sense of residual hope that Obama will return to his godlike state. At once they berate him for betraying them in his holding himself out as almost otherworldly and yet plea for him to return to this very same resplendent glory that they now ambivalently reject.

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift reminisces about Obama's halcyon days -- his period as a consummate presidential campaigner -- when he would overcome each difficult challenge by rising to the occasion. "He came through the crucible each time because he realized he would otherwise lose." Clift observes that the left-wing is running ads "calling on the president to 'be the president we fought to elect.'" She says, "The rest of us (non-Republicans) are craving the leadership we know he's capable of, and time is running out."

The New York Times' Frank Rich attributes "the baffling Obama presidency" to a form of Stockholm syndrome, whereby "the hostage will start concentrating on his captors' 'good side' and develop psychological characteristics to please them -- 'dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.'" "Obama," Rich argues, "has seemingly surrendered his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think." Rich says that Obama is neither the naive centrist the left is making him out to be nor the socialist conservatives claim he is. "The real problem is that he's so indistinct no one across the entire political spectrum knows who he is."

Obama should have broken out of his Stockholm chains and stood "firm on what matters to him and to the country rather than forever attempting to turn non-argumentative reasonableness into its own virtuous reward."

Put aside Rich's distorted perspective in thinking that Republicans have been the aggressors in their relationship with Obama or that he has been conciliatory rather than the bully he's actually been. What's more noteworthy is his disgust with Obama for not being the super-liberal, super-aggressive, super-decisive, super-competent chief executive he and his ilk believed he would be. Rich seems to believe less than some others in Obama's potential redemption.

Michael Lerner writes that liberals "believe it is critical to get Obama to become the candidate whom most Americans believed they elected in 2008." He recommends a primary challenge from the left, which "would pressure Obama toward much more progressive positions and make him a more viable 2012 candidate."

The New York Times' David Brooks, who has sometimes been mistaken for a conservative, begs Obama to make yet another speech (this time on tax reform) and to reclaim the greatness the Brooks "intellectuals" projected upon him. "If Obama moved vigorously on this sort of tax reform, starting at the State of the Union, he would vindicate my description of him, which would be nice." I suppose he means the one in which he lusted after the crease in Obama's pants.

These examples and many others show the pure folly in so many having invested so much in a man about whom we knew so little and what we did know was troubling.

The elites' uniform disenchantment with Obama says much more about them than it does him, namely that they are hopelessly lost in the intoxication of their intellectual elitism and the mire of their crippling worldview and that they didn't have a clue about Obama when they formed their little cult and still don't as they stumble upon, kicking and screaming, his abundant failings.



Washington's "Alphabet Soup" Poisonous to Economy

A simmering bowl of alphabet soup stirs childhood memories of finding culinary comfort on a cold winter day. But as outside temperatures begin to drop and the rhetoric begins to heat up in our nation's capital, the dangers lurking in the alphabet soup of our federal government's regulatory agencies (EPA, OSHA, NLRB, and FCC to name just a few) could spell something far different for our nation’s economy: t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Not long after the Democrats took their electoral “shellacking,” John Podesta, of the George Soros funded Center for American Progress, suggested that "one of the best ways for the Obama administration to achieve through substantial executive authority to make and implement policy."

While we should rightfully be concerned, we shouldn't be surprised. President Obama’s top appointments have demonstrated an aggressive interventionist approach from federal regulatory agencies. Now it appears that is all the White House has remaining. Since losing a Democratic majority in the House and clinging to a diminished majority in the Senate (with nearly half its caucus members up for re-election in 2012), the Obama administration is turning its sights to the only lever of power remaining under their control -- yes, those very same federal regulatory agencies.

What the White House couldn't get passed when Democrats controlled both chambers in Congress, it is now pursuing through far-reaching administrative action in spite of the negative impacts on job creation.

For example, while the job killing cap and trade legislation was going nowhere in the Senate, and literally had a hole blown through it by West Virginia’s Senator-elect Joe Manchin, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now stealthily pushing an extensive carbon regulation scheme with as little public attention as possible and zero concern that it will eliminate jobs and raise energy costs just as the original cap and trade proposal would.

Meanwhile, with official unemployment figures reaching 9.8%, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal reports that plans are underway at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to impose tougher workplace regulation enforcement on businesses and enhance employer compliance through the use of unprecedented pressure and litigation. Increasing administrative burdens on employers and threatening increased legal action against them certainly doesn’t sound like a comprehensive plan to create jobs, except for government lawyers.

A third potential example may reveal the true arrogance of Obama's Washington. It is well-known that the top legislative priority for labor unions is the enactment of the cleverly titled Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - otherwise known as “card check” - that would make it easier for unions to organize without secret ballot elections in the workplace. Although Congressional passage is no longer a threat, big labor (who contributed over $200 million to Democratic candidates this election cycle) is working to advance their pro-union policies through rulemaking at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB’s five-member board is dominated by Obama-appointed pro-union members, including a former top lawyer for SEIU and AFL-CIO, and could attempt to enact EFCA administratively.

A final example of an agency attempt to elude Congressional authority just emerged from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC Chairman has recently announced his intention to use the Democratic majority on the five member commission to move forward with his controversial plan to adopt innovation stifling "net neutrality" regulations in spite of strong bipartisan opposition from Congress and a recent court ruling stating that the FCC lacks the legislative authority to regulate internet traffic management. Policy decisions of this magnitude belong to the elected representatives of the people who are charged with creating public policy, not three unelected members of a beltway panel.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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