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The President’s Employment Problem

The President’s Employment Problem

bored-tv-watchingPresident Obama has a huge problem: jobs. As in, lack of them. As in, not creating any. He promised them on the campaign trail, and he promised them as part of the $1.2 trillion stimulus package he signed a year ago. After one year in office, with a huge majority in Congress, he has accomplished remarkably little, which is a relief to a Conservative. He has spent an inordinate amout of time, resources and energy wrangling over socialized medicine and cap and trade, and the unemployment remains stubbornly high. Tomorrow, employment data will be released for January. Weekly initial jobless claims for unemployment insurance has been running about 470,000, and this week the number hit 480,000. The employment sector will not grow until initial jobless claims fall below 400,000. We're still a long way off. There are two factors in play. The President has been jawboning big business for the last three years, while on the campaign trail and since his inauguration. Business will not hire workers without some stable signs of an increase in aggregate demand, and as long as this administration sends a [...]
The President’s Employment Problem

Hello 2010!

2010-imageGoodbye 2009! Hello 2010! Nearly everyone I talk to expresses relief at the end of 2009. It would be a good year to forget, that is, if we didn't have to deal with the consequences of decisions and actions that will reverberate throughout the rest of our lives. But it's a new year now, so no doom and gloom. I'll leave that to our President, and let me point out that he's good at it! I'm not one to make resolutions, but there are several that I've made this year:
  • Read more
  • Write more
  • Laugh more
  • [...]
The President’s Employment Problem

Stimulus Report Card

Performance ReportNine months ago, Congress passed and President Obama signed an economic stimulus package totalling $1.8 trillion. Hastily designed and implemented, the legislation was highly criticized because it was virtually impossible for anyone to have actually read the bill (much less understand it) prior to implementation. The President himself told us that it was imperative we pass these bills in order to restore economic stability. Conservatives, especially fiscal conservatives, howled, claiming the bill was inappropriately designed, that the money being spent could not possibly generate economic growth because it would take too long to move through the system, with the added concern of driving up an already astronomical deficit. The Administration insisted that the spending was necessary to keep unemployment from exceeding 10%. We were being deceived, and we knew it. It generally takes about six months for changes in fiscal or monetary policy to be felt throughout the broader economy, so after nine months we should be seeing some signs of economic improvement. That is, the weekly economic statistics [...]

9 Trillion Dollars

Hidden among the flurry of activity of the last few weeks is the Congressional Budget Office estimate that future deficits will be a cumulative whopping $9 trillion. The number itself is almost staggering; astounding; outrageous. The same day this figure was announced, President Obama announced that he is renominating Ben Bernanke to a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Two days later, Senator Edward Kennedy passed away. This was fortuitous for the President, because no one has been able to hold him accountable for this number. The cumulative future deficits are irresponsible. And, it makes for an easy campaign for any Conservative worth his or her salt. President Obama is a typical "tax and spend" liberal. Anyone who voted for these deficits can be tagged similarly. People are worried, and the government appears to unconcerned. Fiscal responsibilty is the hallmark of what it means to be conservative. I can't wait for the next election cycle!
The President’s Employment Problem

Cash for Clunkers

money-flying-awayBy all accounts, the cash for clunkers program has been a huge success. Never mind the fact that auto dealerships want nothing to do with the bureaucratic red tape and if at all possible will steer a customer toward conventional financing. The fact of the matter is that it has been a real boost to the economy. So who really has benefited from this program?
  • Some consumers, who traded up from old gas guzzlers to spiffy new fuel-efficient models,
  • Auto dealers, who were able to dump inventory and pay their financiers,
  • Banks, who all of a sudden, had some new auto loan volume, with up to $4,500 down-payments,
  • Auto companies, especially Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, who led the pack in sales. Conspicuously absent from the list were the beneficiaries of the government's bailout program, General Motors and Chrysler. The car companies were also able to unload a bunch of inventory,
  • Unions, who conceivably will be called back to work to replace all of that sold inventory,
  • Steel manufacturers, such as Nucor, who will be able to buy cheap scrap steel and turn it into something usable,
  • The green movement, because these new cars will be spitting out fewer greenhouse gas emissions,
  • And the biggest winner of all, the Obama Administration, who was able to satisfy a number of constuencies and supporters, namely, the unions, the green folks, and the car companies they now run (GM and Chrysler). In the process, the President will be able to boast how this will boost the nation's Gross Domestic Product and single-handedly pull us out of recession.
With so many winners, how can there be any losers? Of course, [...]
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