What Obama Should Do Right Now

president barack obama

You say you want to create jobs right now? You claim you’re anxious to break the back of the recession?  It’s really not that hard, but the answers are not likely to be found on an elite island off the coast of Massachusetts.

It’s been widely reported that Obama stopped into the “legendary” Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven on Friday and picked up a copy of Aldous Huxley’s classic, “Brave New World”, ostensibly for his 13 year old daughter Malia.  One assumes that Obama himself is familiar with the book, and certainly with its content. Perhaps he’ll rely on some of its precepts while he works up his eagerly anticipated “jobs plan”.

In the book, members of every class of society were indoctrinated by listening to repeated slogans while they slept, such as “every one works for everyone else, we can’t do without any one”, a process Huxley referred to as hypnopaedia. In the 21st century this technique has been so refined that the repetition takes place during   waking hours, with Obama and his surrogates repeating phrases such as “tax cuts for the rich”, “millionaires and billionaires”, and “tax breaks for corporate jet owners” at most every political event.

As Obama and his staff work up their plans on the Vineyard, can we expect anything other than the slogans we’ve already tired of and rejected?

All signs point to no.

Get ready for more taxes, more spending and more Massive Fail

On Wednesday the Washington Post reported that President Obama “has decided to press Congress for a new round of stimulus spending and tax cuts”, anticipates “proposing tax cuts for companies that hire workers” and will propose “new spending for roads and construction”. The New York Times had a similar take, noting that “…Obama has spent this week combining his pitch for deficit reduction with a renewed emphasis on the need for further temporary spending”. Tonight, Henry Blodget tells us that Obama will propose a job-training program, tax credits, and infrastructure spending.

We’ve done that. It hasn’t worked, it doesn’t work, it will never work. What will work?  It’s really not that tough to figure.

Remember the S&P downgrade from earlier this month? In their April warning they went on record and stated that “the U.S. is among the most flexible high-income nations, with both adaptable labour markets and a long track record of openness to capital flows” and that “the U.S.’s private sector is exceptionally innovative and competitive.

There’s your answer. Want more jobs? Unleash the private sector: stop smothering it with ideology, regulation and uncertainty.

In a 2008 Reason Magazine interview about her book, The Forgotten Man”, Amity Scholars explained that “Scholars have overlooked the cost of uncertainty in an economy, what we would now call the “unknown unknowns.” Both the Hoover and Roo­sevelt administrations (but especially the Roosevelt administration) were so unpredictable. That hurt the economy very much, and when I went back and saw the extent I was astounded. Uncertainty is a factor that I thought needed to be explored. There were lots of people who said, “I will not invest ’til I know what’s going to happen.”

Schlaes went further in a 2008 Washington Post article: “In 1932, stunned market players and citizens wanted to know what the new rules were… uncertain, markets froze. Businesses refused to hire or invest in equipment.”

The Roosevelt schemes didn’t work. The economy didn’t pick up. Unemployment didn’t improve.

Henry Morgenthau was Roosevelt’s Secretary of Treasury between 1934 and 1945. In 1939 he appeared before the House Ways and Means committee and made this startling admission:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. … And an enormous debt to boot!”

Sound familiar?


Why Business sits on the Sidelines

Right now, American businesses are sitting on enormous cash reserves, estimated at $1.93 trillion as of last September.  The Obama team just can’t understand why business doesn’t want to get in the game. It would sure make their lives easier.

In February, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson complained that “even a portion of the $1.93 trillion invested in developing and installing new pollution control technology would result in good jobs right here for American workers.” Jackson made those remarks at a gathering of labour unions and environmental activists at something called the BlueGreen Alliance national conference in Washington, D.C. last February.

This is the same EPA that just finalised the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that will cause power plants to close that generate up to 17% of America’s most affordable energy and will result in soaring increases in energy costs for consumers and businesses. Worse, it will cost jobs at a time when we’re supposed to be adding them.

In July, the New York Times trumpeted the good news while gushing that there would be “an additional cost to utilities of less than $1 billion a year”! Imagine that.

The usually reliable Obama ally Unions for Jobs and the Environment estimates that this will lead ro a loss of a quarter of a million jobs, while others estimate the total will be much steeper: up to 2.5 million lost jobs and as much as $7 trillion decline in economic output  by 2029.

By last week, even the lap dogs at the New York Times seem to have seen the light.  An article on Thursday headlined Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises reported that “Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show.


Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development.”

Even Maxine Waters has come to the conclusion that the White House jobs policy is just “a lot of talk”.

The worst part of it is that none of it matters. Even if the entire Western Hemisphere completely eliminated all carbon dioxide emissions, the effect on global emissions would be offset by increased emissions from China within 10 years. So why are we doing it?

Get the Motor Running

Want those jobs back?  Get out of the way.

  • Work with Congress to quickly slash corporate tax rates to single digits or less, and make American companies want to be American companies again and not have to take jobs and profits  offshore.
  • Suspend onerous regulations (like those proposed by the EPA) for five years to 10 at least, and quit trying to push socialism under the cover of green.
  • Encourage real energy jobs in the oil fields of the Northwest and let the natural gas industry fulfil its potential. Leave the green job fantasy to the hippies and radical leftists.
  • Quit trying to convince the voters that we need to spend more money on stimulus or raise taxes: they see through all that.
  • Perhaps most importantly, commit to a sensible program that ends uncertainty and lets the indomitable motor of American enterprise begin to pull us out of the ditch.

Mr. President, if you announced a program like this, the markets would jump, unemployment would start to drop significantly within 60 days, GDP would begin to grow again.  And it wouldn’t be “unexpected”

Best of all?  You and Michelle could stay at the Vineyard until January 2013, and then everyone would be happy.