I’m always wary of coming to obvious conclusions, but it seems that in this case I should be comfortable coming to this one: Our unemployment rate is where it is because of Obama administration policies, and would be much lower without them. This is one of the many reasons it amazes me that all forecasts at this time suggest the President Obama will be re-elected in 2012. Today at 9.0%, and likely 1-1.5% higher counting those who have stopped looking for work, millions of Americans are unemployed and their families are suffering.
Let’s look at the actions this administration has taken effecting employment:
1. Passed an $850 billion stimulus that very few economic experts said was in the end effective in any meaningful way, and most money was targeted at Democrat party constituencies, especially public sector union employees. This blew a huge hole in the national debt for no strategic gain in employment whatsoever.
2. Created great uncertainty in the economy with an ill-timed effort on health care reform, freezing hiring in the public sector during the debate, and that freeze continues as businesses assess the impact of the healthcare bill on their employment expenses. Why pass this bill in the midst of 9.8% unemployment?
3. Created even greater uncertainty with tax rates by threatening for 20 months to raise taxes (freezing hiring, even potentially creating layoffs) and then in the 21st month coming out and making a strong case that raising taxes would be irresponsible. Irresponsible? Why was it essentially a “no brainer” for Obama that taxes should be raised during his first 20 months, and magically overnight it was a terrible idea? This was game-playing by Obama that cost likely hundreds of thousands of jobs. Had he simply said what he knew was true 6 months into his administration this uncertainty would have been removed.
4. Worse, on tax rates he called it irresponsible to raise them until December of last year, but said this is only “temporary” and that taxes should go up in the future. Thus, no business really knows what their rates may move to when the “temporary” rates expire. More uncertainty, less hiring.
5. The Obama administration’s anti-business rhetoric is unprecedented in our country. Maybe not in Castro’s Cuba, but it is in our country. This creates a general cloud over business hiring that has a negative effect. By Obama rhetoric, all business seems to be “unethical”, profits are vilified, and risk turning into reward is turned into greed in all cases.
6. The freeze on new off-shore oil permits has killed hundreds of thousands, perhaps downstream millions, of jobs. Even worse, these are jobs that will be filled overseas as our demand for oil remains the same or increases, so in some country, somewhere, is hiring and/or employing people to meet our energy needs. Not only that, most other countries are drilling offshore with far less stringent environmental policies than our current ones. Do you think Russia cares about pollution like we do? Not only has this killed American jobs, it has made us more dependent on foreign oil and raised oil prices.
7. Oil prices have increased costs for consumers and businesses for everything they purchase and do, dramatically. Never mind that when oil prices rose like this during the Bush administration all of the liberals said “what do you expect when you have 2 oil men in the White House” (I wonder what their explanation is now?). Oil prices are at record highs, and this has a huge squelching effect on economic growth and hiring. Obama drilling policies have tactical and strategic impacts on pricing, but what are the more insidious things taking place? I believe there are members of the Obama administration, and maybe Obama himself, who actually “like” that prices are so high because it forces us towards “greener” energy. Their argument would be, “never mind the job hit, that’s a short term cost for long term gain” (no mind to the millions suffering, a perfect intellectual elitist argument). Very revealing was a quote from Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, who said “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of those in Europe”. Wow. For you conservative readers out there, I promise you that there are liberal readers of my blog who read that quote and say, “right on!”.
8. Obama’s pro-union policies (think of them as rewards for hundreds of millions of dollars in past campaign contributions, or a down payment on future campaign contributions, whichever you prefer) increase costs for businesses, reduce hiring, and have an almost 2-1 negative effect on the economy.
So far President Obama has gotten away with his pathetic “I inherited this mess and it’s going to take a while to clean up past mistakes”. It is past time for the American public to hold this President accountable for his actions. He has focused on the wrong things at the wrong time, and millions suffer as a result. He must be held accountable, and voters should judge him accordingly.