Connecting the Dots

Yesterday the Labor Department released the employment statistics for October.  I prefer to refer to is as “employment” rather than “unemployment”.  While it may seem to be nothing more than semantics, it is more positive.

The good news is that the economy created jobs–104,000.  The bad news is that the economy needs to create 120,000 new jobs a month to break even.  But there are now 104,000 new taxpayers, and for that fact alone the rest of us are thankful.  Buried in the article in the Wall Street Journal was this sobering statistic:  there are 13.9 million people looking for work.

President Obama had this to say:  “I’m worried about putting people back to work right now, because those folks are hurting and the U.S. economy is under-performing.  There’s no excuse for inaction.  That’s true globally; it’s certainly true back home as well.”

It’s statements like this that cause me to wonder if he ever listens to himself, or if he has tuned himself out as much as the rest of the country has.  This is the same rhetoric he used four years ago to get elected.  America stopped listening to him a long time ago.  Tired rhetoric is just that:  tired.  Because we’ve realized that it’s not what you say, it’s what you do, and everything this President has done has undermined economic prosperity, not only in America, but around the world.

Mitt Romney, the erstwhile Presidential contender, said this:  “President Obama’s reckless spending and trillion-dollar deficits are hurting this economy and stifling job growth.  Today’s employment report is a reminder that America continues to face a jobs crisis of historic proportions.”

Really?  That’s the best you can do, Mitt?  How about this?:  “This number isn’t great, but it’s better than it has been, which suggests that even President Obama can’t destroy the country and our economy.  We’re the greatest country in the world, and we have a lot of work to do to restore our greatness.  Our fiscal house is a mess, and the way to fix it is to have more taxpayers, not more taxes.  I intend to do just that.”

Memo to Mitt and the President:  I’m tired of the same-old rhetorical nonsense.  I’m an adult.  Give it to me straight.  I can handle it.

Here in Des Moines, where Wells Fargo is a huge employer, the massive bank’s employees are up in arms over the new health care options.  If you’re a Wells employee, you have two options now, an HRA and an HSA.  I’ve listened to their complaints, and they’re blaming Wells Fargo.  I ask them if they voted for “hope and change”.  Most of them did.  Here’s the thing:  This is the change they voted for, but there’s no hope involved.  Wells is only responding to the reality of the marketplace.  It’s not the bank’s fault that the costs of providing affordable health care for 300,000 employees can no longer be absorbed by the shareholders.  Nor is it the bank’s fault that the Dodd-Frank Bill has created a regulatory burden that restricts the bank’s margins to such an extent that it cannot raise revenues fast enough to cover the costs of compliance.  Something had to give.

Connect the dots.  Without those two pieces of legislation, there would have been no change to Wells Fargo’s health insurance program, and Wells’ employees would be have nothing to complain about.  But elections have consequences.  And so they give up the right to complain.  Meanwhile, the President said what he did yesterday in response to the employment numbers.  It’s more like hopelessness and no change.

About the Author

Mr. Durant is a member of a Financial Services firm in Clive, Iowa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Siena College in Loudonville, NY and an MBA from Ashland University in Ashland, OH.

 

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