Conservative Wanderer

“A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.” — Ronald Wilson Reagan

The Democrats’ 2012 Confusion

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Obama, his loyal Democrats (what I call Obamacrats), and his elite experts had it all planned out in 2008. Lightbringer Obama would be elected, he’d spread the government money around, take over a large portion of the economy, and bow to foreign leaders to get them to like us again. His re-election in 2012 would be assured, as would a lefty-Democrat-led government for the foreseeable future, allowing America to become a socialist democracy like those in Europe.

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Team Obama’s Economic Ignorance

About a month after his inauguration, President Obama famously said that if he can’t turn the economy around in 3 years, he’d be a one-term president. With last Friday’s jobs report showing fewer jobs created than even the low expectations, it seems a good opportunity to look at how the economy is doing 3+ years after that statement.

As James Pethokoukis points out, Obama’s own stimulus plan predicts that we should be at about 5.6 percent unemployment since we passed his stimulus as written. The fact that we’re stubbornly hovering around 8 percent shows that the plan he and his advisory team came up with just plain isn’t working.

To most people, the fact that a plan is so clearly not working would be an opportunity to re-think the plan and the assumptions built into it. Unfortunately for far too many American families, Obama and his economic team are apparently incapable of this sort of self-reflection, since they continue to call for more of what didn’t work the first time.

This is part and parcel of the worldview of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, which are drawn from the ranks of government and academia, without a single one that I can find that has any experience in the private sector. To them, it is government that makes the economy run, so like the old Saturday Night Live skit, they keep asking for “more government.”

What Obama and his advisers don’t seem to understand is that in order for the government to spend a dollar, they first have to take more than that dollar — to cover the cost of the bureaucracy — out of the private sector economy through taxation, which keeps the person or company from spending that money on things that really do create jobs.

Now, let’s consider the now-infamous Solyndra, and lesser known examples of Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives such as Green Vehicles, Evergreen Solar, First Solar, Solar Trust of America, and the latest, Nevada Geothermal. Each and every one of these companies was seen as a good investment by Obama Administration officials; each has failed in some way or another. One or maybe two failures could be expected, but when you get to six in three and a half years, it seems reasonable to conclude that the people Obama hired to make these decisions have no idea what a profitable company looks like.

Of course, this is the same sort of government-first thinking that had Nancy Pelosi declaring that ObamaCare would create four million jobs. So far, those jobs don’t seem to have materialized, and it’s no wonder. ObamaCare contains twenty different taxes, and that’s without counting the mandate/penalty/tax/whatever it is this week. Many of those taxes, like the tax on medical devices, are directly aimed at companies that provide jobs actually making things. Only in the world of the government or academia would taxing companies that make things be considered a job creation policy. There’s also a surtax on investment income tucked into ObamaCare for some reason, and that’s another direct hit to job creation, because it not only acts as a disincentive for people to invest money in companies — money those companies could use to hire employees — but because it takes some of that money that could be used for investment and sucks it into the ever-hungry maw of the federal government.

ObamaCare also famously contains thousands of pages of new regulations, and many of them direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create even more regulations. Once again, only someone who’s never worked in the private sector could see added regulations on businesses as a way to add jobs to the economy.

It all works just fine in the insulated world of government and academic papers. You can raise taxes willy-nilly, saddle businesses with new regulations until their shoulders creak, and they’ll still be out there creating jobs if only the government pumps enough money into pet projects.

Unfortunately for Obama, his team, and the Democratic Party, real world doesn’t always work the way someone’s paper says it should. The founders of the Soviet Union found that out the hard way, now Greece is learning the same lesson. Let us hope and pray that America isn’t next.

Obama/Boehner/Cantor Unemployment Plan: Get Government Dollars While Working

I’m heavily skeptical of this plan:

The Obama administration is looking for states that will experiment with unemployment insurance programs by letting people test a job while still receiving benefits.

The plan is a key feature of a payroll tax cut package that President Barack Obama negotiated with congressional Republicans in February.

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Obama Wants to Hire Vets As Cops, Firefighters

It seems that Obama may–I said may–have had what might–I repeat, might–be a good and workable idea.

In a separate statement, the White House announced 2012 grants of $166 million to hire veterans as police officers and $320 million to hire them as firefighters and emergency personnel.

Obama also will include in the 2013 budget a separate $4 billion in funding to promote police hiring, with communities that hire post-September 11 veterans getting preference for the funds. Another $1 billion would go to employ firefighters and emergency workers, the statement said.

This actually makes a good deal of sense, if you think about it. Veterans would logically have the physical and emotional training to handle high-stress jobs like police officer or firefighter, so they’d probably be a good fit for these positions.

The big question, however, is what happens once the grant money runs out? The fear is that if the grant money goes away, so do the positions, and that could put these vets out of work again. Of course, this is somewhat offset by the fact that by the time the grant runs out, the vets would have valuable experience as cops or firefighters, which might make it easier for them to find another position if they find themselves looking because the grant money isn’t there anymore.

Overall, count me as a cautious supporter of this idea.

(Cross-posted at PJ Tatler)

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