The Phantom Priority
posted at 1:05 am on August 24, 2010 by Doctor Zero
After the passage of his massive health-care plan, President Obama promised a “hard pivot” to dealing with our flagging economy. Job creation was said to be his new “top priority.” Politicians make a habit of declaring lots of top priorities. Mark Knoller of CBS News recently put together an amusing list of thirteen items the President has declared to be his top priority. The promise to put the economy first was repeated loudly and often. It will still be ringing in the ears of voters when they clean Democrats out of Congress with an electoral leaf blower this autumn.
In reality, job creation and economic growth are nowhere to be found on this Administration’s list of priorities. The “hard pivot” was actually the feeble ring of ruby slippers clicking together.
Anyone who seriously considered job creation imperative would, at a bare minimum, refrain from the wholesale destruction of industries. Michelle Malkin gives us the bomb damage assessment from the Obama War on Jobs: dereliction of duty on border security, the offshore drilling moratorium, pulling onshore drilling leases, shutting down auto dealerships, and the burden of paying for health insurance “reform” which has become a sucking chest wound in the U.S. economy. The offshore drilling industry will take decades to rebuild, as equipment begins to move permanently out of U.S. waters. The Administration knew the ban it fought so hard to impose would kill 23,000 jobs. Obviously the preservation of those jobs was not a “top priority.”
We’re long past the point where we can afford to indulge expensive environmentalist fantasies, but they remain our official state religion, and donations are mandatory. Government land-use regulations are literally shrinking the private sector. Global-warming advocates who should be on trial for fraud remain respected and powerful advisors to the government. Catering to environmentalists is, clearly, a higher priority than economic growth for the Democrats. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to your face.
The enrichment of powerful labor unions is a much higher priority than job growth for Democrats. The odious “Card Check” bill was an attempt to fuel union growth. Taxpayer subsidies were pumped into General Motors to preserve union jobs. Massive bailouts of unsustainable union pension plans are on the horizon. If Democrats are in power when these bailouts hit, they will pass them without hesitation… and without a second thought for non-union job growth, or the effect of massive new taxes and deficits on the economy.
Liberal ideology is much more important to Democrats than your job, or the financial future of your children. The Bush tax cuts will become implosion bombs when the Democrats allow them to expire. The owners of small businesses, which are the primary engine of job creation, will be caught in the blast radius. The Left is busy feeding its tattered old class-warfare sheet music into the media player piano, and stuffing themselves into hilarious “deficit hawk” costumes three sizes too small for them. Soon the air will be filled with shrill demands to “end tax cuts for the rich” who need to “pay their fair share.” Anyone who isn’t blinded by ideology can see the folly of sucking more money out of an anemic economy.
Consider the foolishness of people like Paul Krugman, who babble about the power of unemployment benefits as the ultimate economic stimulus, because it distributes spending money to the distressingly large unemployed population:
One main reason there aren’t enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.
This betrays a childish misunderstanding of economic growth. It is not fueled by short-term bursts of spending, but rather by investment and risk. Low-end consumer spending doesn’t fuel the long-term demand for skilled labor. At best, it produces the kind of part-time burger flipping, cash-register poking jobs that liberals spent the Bush years sneering at. The money seized from taxpayers to generate this “stimulus” bleeds away during its long journey through the greasy machinery of Big Government, delivering dimes on the dollar when it finally arrives at its destination. In many cases, that destination turned out to be a political slush fund, where millions of dollars in hoarded “stimulus” cost the American taxpayer millions in debt service. Krugman economics transform dollars into antimatter.
Hordes of unemployed people are not going to turn their benefit checks into start-up capital for new businesses. Investment is best left to the people who earned that money in the first place, and they’re more likely to turn it around into more productive investments when they’re confident the profits won’t be confiscated. Big Government sucks trillions out of the economy, skims off billions in overhead costs, and plows the rest into expenditures which are guaranteed by definition to be less conducive to growth than private sector investment… because otherwise it would not be necessary to engineer those expenditures with compulsive force. The heat of a health economy is generated by a million well-fueled furnaces, not a giant central government lumbering around with a flamethrower.
The behavior of an Administration that really did regard jobs and growth as its top priorities is not difficult to imagine. It would act to reduce the cost of labor, not increase it through back-breaking mandates. Money would be returned to the population through lower taxes, where it would blossom into wealth through voluntary transactions. Corporate taxes would be reduced and simplified, creating an environment where investors were eager to generate capital in the pursuit of profit… replacing the dreary confusion of Washington central planners with millions of bold strategies. Instead of embalming industries with bailouts and moratoriums, the government would aggressively privatize its functions – especially in areas like education, where federal control has been an expensive failure of colossal proportions. Land would be opened for responsible development. Reason would replace irrational fear, and respect for the creativity and wisdom of the people would replace stifling maternal control.
It is a simple fact that the government can only grow at the expense of the private sector. Wealth is created through voluntary transactions, with a mutual increase of value for both parties. Government has no resources except coercion, no funds obtained through any means but confiscation. Barack Obama has not taken a single action which has not increased the size of government. Why is anyone surprised by the resulting contraction of private industry? The promise of growth is the phantom priority of a leftist President, snappy patter designed to gain time as he does the one thing a successful private businessman never does: spin the economic roulette wheel and hope he gets lucky before he loses his job.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.
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