Wednesday, September 7, 2011

AMERICA’S JOBS EMERGENCY AWAITS OBAMA'S SOSO SPEECH











After much Obama drama the President finally settled on Thursday, Sept. 8th as this date for delivering his much anticipated, highly touted and ever relevant joint address to Congress on his job stimulus strategy. Of course Americans have indulged this President many times listening to his latest, greatest job stimulation theories. In fact the Heritage Foundation has amassed a natty summation of the President’s numerous have I got a job stimulus strategy for you” speeches over the last two and a half years. But the upcoming address by the President on this issue comes at a seminal moment in America.

President Obama has the dubious honor of presiding over and exacerbating two major economic national emergencies in as many years in office. One is America’s national debt exigencies, which Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen has stated is “…the single biggest threat to national security”, and has yet to find any leadership resolution under the President’s watch.

The President mismanaged and neglected to coordinate congressional agreement on the looming national debt limit, causing unnecessary protracted and wasteful congressional and Executive negotiations to arrive at an eleventh hour “deal” to raise the debt limit. Instead of promptly addressing this issue to reconcile a congressional strategy the President allowed it to languish in political Tartarus resulting in a reduction in America’s sovereign credit rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time in it’s history, another unique distinction to be entered on Mr. Obama’s curriculum vitae.

The unemployment crisis is the other national emergency facing America and is one which was fashioned solely under the President’s watch. I represent America’s unemployment levels as a national emergency not based merely on the recent BLS report that August’s unemployment rate is 9.1% (virtually unchanged since April) or even that for the first time since 1945 no new jobs were created in August. I base this claim on a review of the chronic state of affairs of America’s unemployment situation and evidence that has contributed to this crisis.

The Obama administration’s unemployment rates are the longest sustained unemployment levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s and early 1940s and has averaged an alarming 9.3% under his administration. Further evidence of this national crisis is that as of the August jobs report thirteen states now have double digit unemployment rates (up from eleven last month) and a number of other states are close. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute lays out four key unemployment statistics that display the enduring Obama job market as a state of national emergency, (1) unemployment is 2.5% points higher than the President promised it to be at the time we adopted his failed stimulus package, (2) African-American unemployment is at 16.7% and is 50% higher than it was under the Bush administration, (3) more than 40 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months and, (4) millions of people have dropped out of the labor force, dropping the employment-population ratio to the lowest level in decades.

Perhaps the most definitive support for classifying unemployment as a national emergency is the current Consumer Confidence Index, which surveys 5,000 households and is closely watched since consumer spending makes up 70% of the nation’s economic activity. The index for August fell to 44.5, down from 59.2 in July and is at its lowest level in two years. Depressed housing starts, lowered consumer spending and anemic GDP growth are other indices to justify the Obama jobs market as national emergency status.

If these facts represent the symptoms of the unemployment national emergency, the cause is the Obama-led ideological dogmata that relentless government intervention, regulation and spending spurs a free-market economy’s growth and full employment. The Obama administration’s national debt buildup has choked off private investment and its inexorable business regulations has crippled private enterprise job creation efforts. Given the right climate the small business community is the job generators since they are more agile and innovative than the GEs and IBMs of the world. In fact, small businesses have generated over 64% of all new jobs in the past fifteen years. But the Obama administration’s regulatory stranglehold on these job creators amounts to a staggering $1.75 trillion annually. Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council stated, “The central barrier to business growth and job creation is bad government policies.”

The President’s response to this concern was short on conciliation and long on incoherence when he said The business community is always complaining about regulations”. His administration’s regulatory policies has put a death grip on promoting jobs growth and since 2008 the government has spent $54 billion on regulatory agencies at a 16% growth rate.  The government regulatory system is now the third largest employer in the nation, with more people working for it than McDonald's, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined. Since President Obama took office regulatory agency employment climbed 13% to more than 281,000 regulatory employees, but during the same period private industry employment shrank by 5.6%.

A preview of the President’s speech appears that he still does not get it. The President’s speech will continue his rhetoric of more Keynesian governmental intervention as his jobs solution and interject terms such as “investment” and “infrastructure”, which is code for more governmental stimulus spending, and propose stale ideas such as extending a temporary employee payroll tax moratorium. Even his minions such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) have proposed another trillion-dollar stimulus package to throw more good money after proven failed ideas.

The Obama administration’s regime of regulation has frustrated private enterprise expansion and employment in the face of governmental overregulation, and in America's midst lingers a national emergency. I anticipate the President’s speech tomorrow evening to more adept at wordsmithing than job smelting, and it will elevate the American idiom “same old, same old” to denote presidential absurdity.

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