Monday, July 11, 2011

Sugar Daddy's Run Out Of Sugar

Since I was a total slacker last week in terms of blogging (though in my defense, I was being productive...just not on blogging), I've got two posts to start off this week. First, we're going to continue to beat the economic horse because it ain't nowhere close to being dead. The big news: unemployment goes back up. Unfortunately, it appears the government is still playing fast and loose with the statistics - buried in June's job report is a decrease in the number of the number of jobs 'created' in April and May (you know, because if you report accurate numbers later, when the headlines have moved on, it's almost as good as actually creating the real jobs, right?). Even worse, most of the jobs 'created' for the month of June are 'guesstimates' of companies that don't actually exist, so it is likely June will be revised downward in future months, too.

I'm a visuals kind of guy. I like visuals. They speak volumes in just a glance. If you're like me, you'll love (or hate, actually) these charts:

The obvious evidence proves that Obama's promises regarding the 'stimulus' were hideously, horribly inaccurate. The question is why, and there are two scenarios. The first possibility is that Obama genuinely believed this would work, and he was just wrong. The second is that he knew this wouldn't work and did it anyway. While we could speculate as to which is the true reason, I submit to you that it really doesn't matter. Either way, Obama's policies have been disastrous for America.

In fact, Heritage outlines five specific ways in which his policies have tanked the economy:
  • Stimulus package—The nearly $1 trillion boondoggle failed to stimulate, as we all now know, but made government grow beyond its means. Most of the stimulus bill was filled with the usual government pork or repeating failed policies of the past such as “shovel-ready” projects. Very few provisions were pro-growth and worked to encourage companies to create new, permanent jobs. Some provisions, such as increased unemployment benefits, unfortunately increase the duration of unemployment. The bottom line is that the stimulus bill was based on the flawed economic assumption that governments can spend their way back to prosperity and growth. The government stimulus bill did not create jobs; instead it filled job creators with fears of future tax hikes or more borrowing, and thus future artificially high interest rates.
  • Obamacare—It took the Administration and the Democratic-held Congress a year and half to ram this piece of legislation down the throat of the American people, time that could have been spent fixing the employment picture. Worse yet, Obamacare imposes vast and expansive new regulations and made labor costs uncertain. Many businesses have said that they are not going to hire permanent workers until they understand exactly how much Obamacare is going to cost their business and raise employment expenses. Other businesses are not sure how the new Obamacare regulations impacts their bottom line, which means they are going to sit tight instead of expanding.
  • Frank-Dodd Financial Bill—The heavy-handed Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill not only placed needless burdens on small as well as large financial institutions, but has deterred investment by imposing ill-defined restrictions on those who want to invest in the economy. And it did so without addressing the real causes of the financial crisis.
  • Environmental Protection Agency regulation—Unable to get Congress to pass Cap and Trade, with its skyrocketing electric rates, the Obama EPA is skinning the cat another way—mandating costly regulation. The EPA is implementing a lineup of electric-industry regulations, including the already in-force, but-as-yet-unspecified new CO2 rules, that promise higher rates, less reliability, and a sketchy future business environment. It’s no great surprise that firms haven’t turned up the throttle on hiring and expansion.
  • Regulatory Assault on Employers—The Administration’s enforcement agencies view employers as lawbreakers who need to be brought in line. Within the Department of Labor the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) have ramped up enforcement spending while cutting back programs that help employers understand and comply with the law. Obama’s Solicitor of Labor emphasizes the Labor Department’s focus on litigation against employers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is twisting the law into pretzels to facilitate union organizing, going so far as to file charges against Boeing for creating jobs in a non-union state. Obama’s message to employers has been clear: “We suspect you are breaking the law and we will get you.” Small wonder they are not hiring.

And this is just from the first two years. Can you imagine what would happen if he gets a full eight years to direct American policy? Let's hope that nightmare doesn't become our reality.

But, back to the economics.

Unfortunately, the spinworks is trucking along at full speed. Obama is blaming everyone and everything but himself and his policies for what's going on:
A year after the WH proclaimed “recovery summer" and two years after a trillion dollar “stimulus” program, the President blamed a series of “headwinds” for what he described as a “rocky” “recovery.” Obama said Greece, natural disasters, high gas prices, state budget cuts and uncertainty about the debt ceiling were prohibiting the economy from creating more jobs, which critics called just more finger-pointing from the White House. “Streamlining the patent process” and new infrastructure spending were a few solutions to the jobs crisis offered by the President this morning, leaving many economists scratching their heads. Looking detached, Mr. Obama plodded back into the White House with his head down, without acknowledging any responsibility for the economy for the struggling economy and appearing to some critics extremely out of touch.

Moe Lane at RedState pins the tail on the donkey with this caption and photograph:

The Democrats and unemployment, summed up in one screencap.


And here's the thing. They know their policies achieve these results. They know poor economics equals more dependence upon government. That's the whole point. Even Obama himself admitted it recently:
I think we should acknowledge that some welfare programs in the past were not well designed and in some cases did encourage dependency.… As somebody who worked in low-income neighborhoods, I’ve seen it where people weren’t encouraged to work, weren’t encouraged to upgrade their skills, were just getting a check, and over time their motivation started to diminish. And I think even if you’re progressive you’ve got to acknowledge that some of these things have not been well designed.
Heritage points out the most damning evidence:
The United States welfare system has not promoted prosperity and self-reliance but, rather, a culture of entitlement. Since the federal government got into the welfare business with the War on Poverty back in the 1960s, the poverty level has remained nearly the same, yet government welfare spending has soared. Today, the federal government operates over 70 welfare programs at a cost edging toward $1 trillion a year, or roughly 13 times the cost of what it spent in the 1960s.
Of those 70 welfare programs, guess how many actually require recipients to be looking for a job? Seriously, just guess. Got your number in mind? Here's the answer:


They cannot be this stupid. Well, the liberal masses can (and I suspect they probably are), but these people at the top of the liberal food chain are not. They know these things, but they embrace them because with more dependence on government comes more power for them, and power means control. And remember, above all else...liberals are in it for the control. To get it, they're pushing hard for more and more regulations and taxes, and trying to threaten dire consequences if Republicans don't cave.
The problem is, though, that the sugar daddy has run out of sugar.

The political establishment is in full panic mode to artificially try to force the issue and bully Republican compliance despite having no real leverage. Obama's recent Twitter 'town hall' -- intended to reassure the American public -- was rife with inaccuracies and deceptions. Democrats are blustering about trying to help the economy even while simultaneously pushing legislation to take more money out of the pockets of American citizens and blaming everything on Republican obstruction. Personally, I can't get enough of that kind of obstruction, and am not optimistic that the GOP will hold firm. Time will tell.

As unreliable as they may be, the Republicans are the only ones in American politics right now who have any notion of what it takes to actually improve the economy. Let's take Republican Senator Marco Rubio as an example:
Let’s stop talking about new taxes and start talking about new taxpayers, which means jobs. This debt is the No. 1 issue on everyone’s minds and rightfully so. It is a major issue, but everywhere else, in the real world, the No. 1 issue on people’s minds is jobs. And I tell you, every other problem facing America — a mortgage crisis, a home foreclosure crisis, this debt problem — all of these issues get easier to deal with if people are gainfully employed across America. And the impact that unemployment is having across this country is devastating. …

Our job here [in Congress] is to do everything we can to make it easier for them to find a job, not harder. And I think that’s what we have to do when it comes to ‘a balanced approach’ and when we talk about revenue. We don’t need new taxes, we need new taxpayers, people who are gainfully employed, making money, paying into the tax system and then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue and use it to pay down the debt and never grow it again. …

So you look at all these taxes that are being proposed and here’s what I say: I say we should analyze every single one of them through the lens of job creation, issue No. 1 in America. I want to know which one of these taxes they’re proposing will create jobs. I want to know how many jobs will be created by the planes tax. I want to know how many jobs will be created by the oil company tax that I’ve heard so much about. How many jobs are created by going after the millionaires and billionaires that the president talks about? I want to know! How many jobs do they create? …

I traveled the state of Florida for two years campaigning. I have never met a job creator who told me that they were waiting for the next tax increase before they started growing their business. I’ve never met a single job creator who has ever said to me I can’t wait ’til government raises taxes again so I can go out and create a job. I’m curious to know if they say that in New Hampshire because they don’t say that in Florida. So my view on all that is, I want to know how many of these tax increases the president proposes will create because if they’re not creating jobs and they’re not creating new taxpayers, they’re not solving the problem.
This message should be hammered by every Republican politician from now until the election! It's not only the right thing to do, but it's also a political win.
A recent Rasmussen Reports poll shows us just how in love with government control of the economy most normal everyday Americans are. Take a look at these numbers:
  • 72% of likely voters believe a free market economy is better than a government managed one
  • 56% think increased competition is better for keeping businesses accountable than increased government regulation
  • 23% think the government knows what it's doing in terms of economic policy
  • 11% think increasing deficits are good for the economy
It should also be noted that Democrats are the only political demographic that doesn't generally follow these proportions. Go figure.

And the Obama administration haughtily dismissed the entire notion that Americans are paying attention to unemployment, saying they just don't care. Um...really?

Do you care? Yep, so do I.

It looks like Republicans are hanging tough for the moment. But a few phone calls and e-mails from concerned American citizens would go a long way toward firming up their usually non-existent spines. Give it a shot...there's too much at stake not to.

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