The Washington Post reports that Barack Obama will go back to the drawing board during his vacation* this month and draw up a plan to stimulate job creation. At least that’s what Obama has promised, along with a deficit reduction plan that he has promised since April:
President Obama has decided to press Congress for a new round of stimulus spending and tax cuts as he seeks to address the great domestic policy quandary of his tenure: how to spur job growth in an age of austerity.
Obama will lay out a series of ideas in a major address right after Labor Day, when he and a largely antagonistic Congress will return from vacation, the White House said Wednesday.
The president is thinking about proposing tax cuts for companies that hire workers, new spending for roads and construction, and other measures that would target the long-term unemployed, according to administration officials and other people familiar with the matter. Some ideas, such as providing mortgage relief for struggling homeowners, could come through executive action.
Obama also plans to announce a major push for new deficit reduction, urging the special congressional committee formed in the debt-ceiling deal this month to identify even more savings than the $1.5 trillion it has been tasked with finding.
In other words, we’re going to get more of the same policies we got in Porkulus in 2009. Obama will offer short-term gimmicks to get short-term boosts in spending, go back to the “shovel-ready” projects that even Obama finally admitted were a mirage, and offer more public safety-net spending while calling it a “stimulus.” The fact that we’re headed into another recession clearly showed these Keynesian gimmicks as failures seems to have escaped Obama’s attention.
Investors Business Daily’s John Merline gives a better diagnosis of the real problem holding back investment and growth:
If the federal government’s regulatory operation were a business, it would be one of the 50 biggest in the country in terms of revenues, and the third largest in terms of employees, with more people working for it than McDonald’s, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined.
Under President Obama, while the economy is struggling to grow and create jobs, the federal regulatory business is booming.
Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16% since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual “Regulator’s Budget,” compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.
That’s at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5%.
Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13% since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6%.
John also gives us the Chart of the Day, showing the growth in regulatory agencies over the last 18 months:
The Obama administration is in the regulatory-expansion business, and buddy, business is a-boomin’. Not only did the Federal Register of regulations expand 18% in 2010 alone, Merline says more than 4200 new regulations are “in the pipeline,” not including items like Dodd-Frank, the EPA’s new clean-air rules, or the new CAFE standards recently demanded by Barack Obama. He also quotes the Heritage Foundation’s analysis that Obama’s first 26 months in office has cost the private sector more than $40 billion in additional regulatory compliance — and that’s not including what ObamaCare will do over the next couple of years.
The Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee released an interview with CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder explaining how regulatory uncertainty keeps investors on the sidelines, and American growth in suspense:
If investors can’t get a reasonable risk forecast, they don’t invest. At least, they don’t invest in this economy.
If Obama really wants to produce an effective jobs plan, it would consist not of short-term gimmicks but in rolling back the regulatory adventurism of his first 30 months in office. He would push for effective tax reform, especially in the corporate code, that would flatten the structure, lower rates, eliminate the crony corporatism built into it, and get more revenues as a result. Deficit reduction would comprise entitlement reform and the elimination of the massive wave of future liabilities that we cannot possibly meet. Anything else is just short-term political pandering, which is exactly what we got from this administration the last time Obama came up with a “jobs plan.”
* – No President goes on vacation. Ever. The optics of going to Martha’s Vineyard while calling for national “sacrifice” might be awful — well, no, they are awful — but griping about a President getting away for a few days is just churlishness. Every President does so, and every President works every day while doing so.