South Orange, NJ
Friday, December 03, 2010
By Alan Caruba
It has taken less than a year for most Americans to conclude that the Obama White House is all about appearances. It is political drama for purpose of political deception. The "Job Summit" is a classic example. It's all some kind of kabuki theatre to them
Most administrations worry about their credibility, whether most of the public believes what they are saying, but this one doesn't really care. The result is an endless succession of staged events in which the hand-picked participants all say what the White House wants.
The December 2nd edition of Business Week, however, had something different to say on the subject of "The Slow Road to Jobs." Reporter Jane Sasseen began by asking, "Could it take as long as five years for the economy to replace all of the eight million jobs lost since the Great Recession began? The most bearish economists think so."
"Job creation," reported Sasseen, "is proving to be painfully slow, and Washington is starting to panic. With unemployment at a 26-year high of 10.2% and climbing, the Democrats are scrambling to rev up the economy before the midterm elections next November." Unofficial estimates put the unemployment rate closer to 17% which would put it in the category of a full-blown Depression.
The notion that the White House or Congress can create any jobs other than government jobs is a fallacy. Real jobs are largely created by small business owners and, formerly, by major corporate enterprises, but the latter keep leaving the United States because they are paying among the highest corporate taxes to be found anywhere in the world.
The prospect of an increase in the costs of healthcare insurance and/or the complete government takeover of healthcare is enough to make corporations look for a friendlier place in which to set up shop. NAFTA, the Clinton "solution" got the race out of town going as auto manufacturers and others headed for Mexico. They took a lot of jobs with them.
The present recession differs from previous ones. "The U.S. economy, once the greatest job-creation machine in the world, has taken longer and longer to replace the jobs lost in recent recession," reported Sasseen. "This time could be even worse. U.S. payrolls peaked at 138 million in December 2007; today they stand at roughly 130 million."
While household and businesses reduce their spending, the prospect of any near-term increase in hiring is unlikely.
The spending binge, spurred by using homes as equity with which to go further into debt, is over. Well, it's over for taxpayers, but not for those who spend that tax money. Fox News reported that "The federal government spent $3.5 trillion during President Obama's first year in office."
Though fond of blaming President Bush for all the ills of the economy, President Obama "shattered the budget record for first-year presidents, spending nearly double what his predecessor did when he came into office and far exceeding the first-year tabs for any other U.S. president in history."
"That price tag came with a $1.4 trillion deficit, nearly $1 trillion more than last year. The overall budget was about a half-trillion more than Bush's for 2008, his final full fiscal year in office."
For that kind of spending and debt, one would assume that the economy would have received such a jolt that it would be humming along toward recovery by now, but it turned out that most of the billions in the "Stimulus" bill, passed unread by the Democrat controlled Congress, have not been spent as yet and what has been spent is not likely to generate many jobs.
The stimulus bill has billions allocated for so-called "green jobs" in the area of "renewable energy" such as solar and wind. In a December 2 commentary in The Washington Examiner, Thomas J. Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research pointed out that, "At the height of its construction this past summer, the largest solar plant in the United States employed 400 workers. Now that it's complete, the DeSoto Solar Center in Arcadia, Florida, stakes claim to two – yes two – full time 'green jobs.'"
Contrast this with an estimated 1.2 million energy jobs that would be made available if the Obama administration would permit exploration of the nation's vast continental shelf for the vast oil and natural gas resources going untapped. There are an estimated 115 billion barrels of recoverable oil and more than 565 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The Institute for Energy Research estimates those jobs would generate $70 billion in annual wages. Then add in the reduction in the cost of importing these energy sources.
Instead of an economy-killing healthcare "reform", the costs could be reduced in ways that could be counted on two hands, starting with tort reform and a serious effort to end the estimated $70 billion in Medicare fraud.
Instead of taking billions out of Medicare and thus likely causing hospitals to shut down and the denial of care to the millions of seniors who paid into the system, the Obama administration is more focused on government control of one-sixth of the economy. Or what will be left of it after they run it into the ground.
All manner of steps could be taken to energize the economy, not the least of which would be tax cuts that would encourage spending and hiring. But no, the Obama administration would rather put on a show for the cameras.
Jobs summit? Don't make me laugh.
Alan Caruba writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com
An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.
South Orange, NJ