Wednesday, September 07, 2011

President Zero

It hasn’t happened in the lifetimes of anyone who isn’t eligible for social security.

Zero net jobs were created in the month of August for the first time since 1945. It is almost mind boggling to think about what may turn out to be this President’s singular accomplishment — ending a 792 month job creation winning streak for the American economy.

Historians will be looking to determine just how the Obama Administration reached this milestone? What were Obama’s secrets? Just how did he spend almost a trillion dollars in ‘stimulus’ funding and get to a very round number? The search for answers takes us around the country and indeed around the globe.

In Seattle, Washington, the federal government spent $20 million dollars on a federal grant to weatherize homes as part of their greening of America plan. How many jobs were created for $20 million? Fourteen total, eight of which are specifically tasked with administratively handling the grant.

The green economic boom continues in California where the Obama Administration provided Solyndra Corporation, a $550 million loan guarantee to make solar panels. The President himself thought so highly of this company and its future that he visited this Bay Area factory last year. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the business visited by the man with the reverse Midas touch just announced that 1,100 workers will be laid off immediately and it is expected to file for bankruptcy.

In his zeal to promote job creation, this president pumped $2 billion into an offshore oil drilling operation that promises to create a secure energy future — in Brazil. While in the U.S., the same president is blocking offshore oil drilling that would create hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and in reaction to the Gulf oil spill has driven job creators out of business. After all, it’s not easy being green.

Of course, Obama’s taxpayer funded venture capitalist misadventures are not solely responsible for his getting the first zero on a monthly job creation scorecard since Harry Truman was reincorporating hundreds of thousands of troops coming home from the Big One.

His Administration partners in crime have jumped into the job destruction game with an almost unparalleled zeal.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has been at the forefront in the Obama quest for zero. Her agency has promised new air quality regulations that are estimated to eliminate 1.4 million jobs by 2020, while just one regulation in her war on coal is projected to eliminate 800,000 jobs. Of course, Jackson is not content to just use her agency’s new found authority to push a radical anti-job agenda using the Clean Air Act, as she is also using the Clean Water Act to put mining and other resource industries under the gun.

While Jackson has been incredibly effective at stifling our nation’s job creation to zero, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s continuous calls for higher taxes on job creators cannot be ignored as a factor in the Obama zero strategy.

Of course, you can’t get to zero without an active Labor Department, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has been a vigorous conspirator in the fight. Her focus on bringing employers to heel through OSHA and Wage and Hour regulators, who sometimes seem to have been turned into proxy union organizers, has certainly created the business climate necessary for the Obama success story.

The Obama labor team of course includes his National Labor Relations Board appointees who have received notoriety for their decision to battle Boeing Corporation because they had the audacity to try to create new jobs in South Carolina.

But you cannot really have the perfect storm unless you threaten the bottom line of every company in the nation by “reforming” health care and increasing their per employee costs substantially. Nothing quite stimulates hiring new people like the specter of facing a major per employee cost increase in the near future, and O’s continued aggressive regulatory pursuit of this major bureaucratic boondoggle is the coup de grace that ensured his achieving his zero.

It takes a lot to achieve something that not even Jimmy Carter dreamed of, and the entire Obama team deserves full credit for what they have done.

Unfortunately, this attainment hasn’t been fully appreciated within the Administration as the President himself offered a curt no comment on the August employment numbers while he raced to catch Marine One for a quick trip to his weekend retreat at Camp David. Of course, no one can blame him for needing a rest, after all, he had been back on the job from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation for a full four days.

Having created these changes that no one had hoped for it is not hard to understand why O is becoming known by the new superhero name, President Zero.



And now a word from a job creator

Fear rules as government acts like a runaway train

By Mike Whalen, founder of Heart of America Group, which owns and operates hotels and restaurants

As a job-creating entrepreneur out here in the hinterlands, I am amazed at the Keynesian priests in Washington calling for more stimulus fueled by debt.

“The Rev.” Paul Krugman, “the Rev.” Robert Reich and their many cohorts argue that the stimulus was too small to offset falling aggregate demand and that the prescription for our laggard economy is another, bigger stimulus.

Those who talk about Keynesian economic theory think economic contractions are worsened and prolonged because consumers and businesses hunker down in caution, causing aggregate demand to fall. We can all agree this has happened.

According to the Keynesians, the remedy for today’s economic problem is for the federal government, as the single biggest actor, to “prime the pump.” As government money starts to ripple through the economy, consumers and businesses will be encouraged and cautiously respond with limited increases of their own. Vroom! The economic engine steadily revs up in billions of responsive steps until happy days are here again. This pump-priming reaction is termed the “multiplier effect.”

I think John Maynard Keynes would be horrified at the slavish adherence to this simplistic strategy by so many policymakers and economic thinkers, as his theory was much more complex. This thinking might be correct under circumstances other than those in which we find ourselves. If the ratio of our national debt to gross domestic product was low - say 25 percent - and the federal government had run surpluses before the downturn, this college freshman-level Keynesian analysis would have great weight. Put another way, if Uncle Sam were a rock-solid financial entity with low debt to value and he had judiciously used debt for capital improvements that were accretive in value, as the biggest dog on the porch, a stimulus might work.

But with a national debt of more than $14 trillion and unfunded, future “off the books” debt of Social Security and Medicare combined at $104 trillion in present value, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve, Uncle Sam ain’t the man he used to be. This in turn makes American businesses that are sitting on a pile of cash focus on deleveraging. The American consumer is doing the same. In fact, from where I sit, it appears as though everyone except Uncle Sam is working like mad to strengthen his balance sheets. The legitimate fear across the country is that Washington’s refusal to join our common-sense parade will result in higher taxes, more regulations, more inflation and Japanese-style stagflation. In other words, Washington’s attempts at stimulus through spending are having the opposite effect. Businesses and consumers stay hunkered down.

I know this is counterintuitive to the college-freshman Keynesian analysis from above, but as a business owner, I can tell you an additional stimulus would create more fear and further dampen demand in the private sector. Keynes was correct in focusing on aggregate demand as critical, but the confidence context and potential behavior responses have to be considered, and that requires real-world, Main Street knowledge - not just textbook theory. In this environment, if the federal government announced a real road map to fiscal soundness, the impact would be truly stimulating. If American businesses and consumers saw that Washington was really cutting, not just reducing future increases, there would be tremendous relief and an increase in confidence across the country. Job creators would sing “hallelujah”; they would get off their wallets, start hiring, and then you’d see that Keynesian multiplier kick in.

Modern Keynesians suffer from the misguided notion that government is the great engine that will restore our economy to prosperity. In fact, the great engine is a diverse system of private citizens anxious to go to work to provide for their families and build their businesses.



Obama the flake

Can you imagine what the media would do if a Republican President made these errors? Yet Obama remains untouched. This is not a fair system. Dan Quayle misspelled potato and we never heard the end of it.

A man would could make this many errors is unqualified to be the most powerful man on earth.


Democrats Running on Empty

Over at Salon, Matt Stoller takes a good hard look at President Obama and concludes that he is ruining the Democratic Party.

Stoller's right, and the problem for Democrats is that the spectacular failure of the Obama presidency (at least thus far) presents them with two distinct threats from two distinct groups that are essential to their party's long-term survival: Young people, and African-Americans.

Young people came out and voted for "hope and change" in 2008, and are now reaping the whirlwind in the form of massive unemployment. As it turns out, the Obama presidency is disillusioning them both with Big Government and with the Democratic Party, likely -- at least in some cases -- for a lifetime.

As for African-Americans, that group has long been a linchpin of Democratic electoral hopes. So when people like Stoller delicately raise the question of whether it might be smarter to replace Obama on the ticket (or have a mainstream Democratic primary competitor), it's crazy to think that idea will go anywhere. That's because an intraparty coup against the President will insult and infuriate African Americans -- and be attributed to racial animus, even though it would have nothing to do with race (which might be an instructive lesson on how conservatives are treated on a regular basis) -- thereby threatening the very core of the Democratic coalition.

But it's hard to feel sorry for the Democrats, who are indeed trapped in a very sorry situation (at least for now). That's because they were all too willing to exploit the hopes of young people and bask in the glow of moral superiority when Barack Obama was riding high. Now, they're seeing the downside.



Are scientists becoming the new priests?

Debra J. Saunders

"I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy," GOP presidential hopeful and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman recently tweeted. You've got to hand it to Huntsman - he sure knows how to endear himself to folks who won't vote in the Republican primary.

Huntsman has said that he fears that the GOP will be perceived as the "antiscience party." That is, he gave a nod to Democrats' conceit that theirs is the party of science. Why? Because the Dems don't tolerate questions about evolution or global warming.

For the record, I believe in evolution. But I also have respect for those who see God's handiwork in the process - and see little reason to try to marginalize those with different personal beliefs.

I also share the skepticism voiced by a number of scientists - yes, scientists - who reject global-warming orthodoxy in defiance of a political/academic machine that enforces submission to one view. Those who do not agree with alarmist predictions on climate change do so at their careers' peril.

As then-Delaware state climatologist David Legates told me in 2007, he would tell students who were not global-warming true believers, "If you don't have tenure at a major research university, keep your mouth shut."

Huntsman's reverential tone, however, suggests that university science departments are havens of harmony, with scientists as priest-like figures to whose greater wisdom the public should defer.

With scientists on this pedestal, who needs religion?

It's worth noting that among the Obama ticket and GOP field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul probably have the strongest science backgrounds. Perry, a farmer, rancher and former Air Force pilot, has a degree in animal science from Texas A&M University. Paul was an Air Force flight surgeon and then a practicing physician until 1996.

Both Perry and Paul are global-warming skeptics. Paul rejects evolution outright, while Perry calls evolution "a theory."

Huntsman majored in international politics. Hence, his decision to "trust scientists on global warming."

Trust? Scientists know things that non-scientists don't know, but they are human, which makes them fallible. And as recent events have shown, not all scientists are above the political fray.

Consider Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist. In 2009, Chu's staff approved $535 million loan guarantee to the Fremont solar company, Solyndra. Within two years, despite half a billion in taxpayer dollars, Solyndra announced last week it was filing for bankruptcy, shuttering its remaining plant, and laying off 1,100 workers. That was one miscalculation. Mistakes happen.

But the biggest blunder was not made by a scientist, but by a politician who so trusted the hollow promises of the climate-change lobby that he bet the U.S. economy on green jobs that never did proliferate. That was President Obama, and you see the fruit of his misguided faith.



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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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