OK. I’ll admit it. I voted for Obama. I blamed Bush and his administration for crashing the economy and getting us into a reckless war in Iraq. And up until a few months ago I figured Obama had a lock on another four years in the White House. No more. In fact, I’m not so sure he merits a second term.
And in any event, it’s time to stop blaming Bush for the crisis we are facing with a stagnant economy and high unemployment. Obama and his gang have failed miserably to create jobs and restore confidence in the economy. Stimulus One was a flop. And the proposed Stimulus Two doesn’t offer much hope. In fact, I’m becoming convinced that despite Obama’s rhetoric, the administration never expected the American Jobs Act to pass in total. I’m not sure that “better than doing nothing” is a winning strategy these days. We’ll see.
Anyway, this isn’t just the view of a lonely pajama-clad citizen journalist pecking away at the computer in the early a.m. Here’s from Robert Sheer, opining on The Huffington Post, “One Betrayal Too Many“:
It’s getting too late to give President Barack Obama a pass on the economy. Sure, he inherited an enormous mess from George W., who whistled “Dixie” while the banking system imploded. But it’s time for Democrats to admit that their guy bears considerable responsibility for not turning things around.
He blindly followed President Bush’s would-be remedy of throwing money at the banks and getting nothing in return for beleaguered homeowners. Sadly, Obama has proved to be nothing more than a Bill Clinton clone triangulating with the Wall Street lobbyists at the expense of ordinary folks.
That fatal arc of betrayal was captured by a headline in Tuesday’s New York Times: “Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on ‘Lost Decade.’ ” The Census Bureau reported that there are now 46.2 million Americans living below the official poverty line–the highest number in the 52 years since that statistic was first measured–and median household income has fallen back to the 1996 level. As Harvard economist Lawrence Katz summarized this dreary news: “This is truly a lost decade. We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”
But importantly, how much confidence is there that Obama and his economic team (and let’s not talk about Jeff Immelt, Obama’s Jobs Czar who is making a career at GE out of sending jobs to China) know what he is doing.
Well, the fiasco with “green jobs” and the now belly-up Solyndra doesn’t help much. To paraphrase Ross Perot, that sucking sound is billions of dollars of taxpayer money going down the toilet. Here’s from WaPo, “Obama green-tech program that created Solyndra struggles to create jobs“:
A $38.6 billion loan guarantee program that the Obama administration promised would create or save 65,000 jobs has created just a few thousand jobs two years after it began, government records show.
The program — designed to jump-start the nation’s clean technology industry by giving energy companies access to low-cost, government-backed loans — has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount, according to Energy Department tallies.
President Obama has made “green jobs” a showcase of his recovery plan, vowing to foster new jobs, new technologies and more competitive American industries. But the loan guarantee program came under scrutiny Wednesday from Republicans and Democrats at a House oversight committee hearing about the collapse of Solyndra, a solar-panel maker whose closure could leave taxpayers on the hook for as much as $527 million.
The GOP lawmakers accused the administration of rushing approval of a guarantee of the firm’s project and failing to adequately vet it. “My goodness. We should be reviewing every one of these loan guarantee” projects, said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
Obama’s efforts to create green jobs are lagging behind expectations at a time of persistently high unemployment. Many economists say that because alternative-energy projects are so expensive and slow to ramp up, they are not the most efficient way to stimulate the economy.
And here’s a perspective from someone unlike me who may actually know what he is writing about: George Will — “Our floundering federal family“:
In societies governed by persuasion, politics is mostly talk, so liberals’ impoverishment of their vocabulary matters. Having damaged liberalism’s reputation, they call themselves progressives. Having made the federal government’s pretensions absurd, they have resurrected a supposed synonym for the government, the “federal family.” Having made federal spending suspect, they advocate “investments” — for “job creation,” a euphemism for stimulus, another word they have made toxic.
Barack Obama, a pitilessly rhetorical president, continues to grab the nation by its lapels, demanding its attention, and is paying the price: The nation is no longer listening. This matters because ominous portents are multiplying.
Bank of America, which reported an $8.8 billion loss last quarter, plans to lay off 30,000 out of a workforce of nearly 300,000. The Postal Service hopes to shed 120,000 of its 653,000 jobs (down from almost 900,000 a decade ago). Such churning of the labor market would free people for new, more productive jobs — except that to reduce unemployment, the economy needs an approximately 3 percent growth rate, triple today’s rate.
Consumers of modest means are so strapped that Wal-Mart is reviving layaway purchases for the Christmas season. The Wall Street Journal reports that Procter & Gamble, which claims to have at least one product in 98 percent of American households, expects hard times for a long time: It is putting new emphasis on lower-priced products for low-income shoppers.
For two years, there has been one constant: As events have refuted the Obama administration’s certitudes, the administration has retained its insufferable knowingness. It knew that the stimulus would hold unemployment below 8 percent. Oops. Unemployment has been at least 9 percent in 26 of the 30 months since the stimulus was passed. Michael Boskin of Stanford says that, even if one charitably accepts the administration’s self-serving estimate of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus, each job cost $280,000 — five times America’s median pay.
And research by Garett Jones and Daniel M. Rothschild of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center indicates that just 42.1 percent of workers hired by entities receiving stimulus funds were unemployed at the time. More (47.3 percent) were poached from other organizations, and 10.6 percent came directly from school or outside the labor force.
Obama’s administration, which is largely innocent of business experience, knew its experts would be wizards at investing taxpayers’ dollars. Oops. After receiving more than half a billion stimulus dollars in loan guarantees, bankrupt solar-panel maker Solyndra has shed nearly all of its more than 1,100 workers.
Ah, time to stop blaming Bush.