Creating jobs or laughs?
All the presidential posturing about creating jobs is high comedy. Or tragedy. Or irony.
You probably know the president doesn’t create jobs. The business world creates jobs when a profit-seeking entrepreneur takes a risk on a new or expanded venture and needs new employees to get the job done. When entrepreneurs feel the threat of losses, they protect their capital with caution, contracting and laying off employees, destroying jobs.
Small business creates or destroys 80 percent of the jobs in the U.S., and the president has no control over that or big business jobs, either. Whether Democrat or Republican, all the presidential talk about creating jobs is political theater, played out to the public while the brain-dead media plays straight man. All presidents seem to go along with the fiction that they are in charge of the economy.
There are a few things a president actually can do, but those things have an indirect and much-delayed effect on job creation.
He can foster a climate of business-friendly taxation and regulation to boost the confidence of risk-takers, trying to induce them to put their capital on the line in pursuit of a handsome profit.
The lefties currently in charge spit out the word “profit” as if it were an epithet, but profit is the fuel of our capitalist engine.
A lot of capital has been sidelined by entrepreneurs worried about new regulations piling up, a future tax profile that has been highly uncertain and threatening, and White House rhetoric demonizing business, promoting anti-business sentiment in the news. How many jobs has that created?
The president can try to influence job creation with fiscal policy, like the stimulus program in which we borrowed a trillion dollars from our children to spend on dubious projects that, I fear, accomplished little other than funneling trainloads of money to friends of the Democrats. I would love to be proven wrong.
The president can “jawbone” the independent Federal Reserve on monetary policy, which is usually focused on controlling the money supply to keep the dollar strong, but the Fed has been creating money like crazy, helping make dollars cheap. I can almost see hoards of entrepreneurs drawing their capital to ever-tighter protection.
In any macro-economics 101 class, students soon learn that political talk about job creation is mostly balloon juice – hot air – because presidents can talk about it but cannot control it.
Furthermore, the effects of fiscal or monetary policy might be felt years later, and while the numbskulls on TV news seem not to realize that simple fact, news reports continue to give the president credit for economic good news and blame him for economic bad news when actually he is mostly along for the ride.
Whether Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter, the president often deals with the economic effects of presidential decisions made years before they took office.
Defenders of President Obama might find great comfort in that as ammo to blame George W. Bush for ... whatever. If you ask me, Bush gets credit for tax cuts and a pro-business climate, but needed a major trip to the woodshed over creating an avalanche of spending in new entitlement to Medicare drug benefits, never mind wars without paying for them.
If Democrats want to talk about who is responsible for the economic crisis in recent years, well, don’t get me started until you put on your asbestos suit and have a lot of time.
The past notwithstanding, President Obama lecturing the business world about creating jobs is pretty funny. This is the same man who raised deficit spending to soaring record heights and then appointed a “deficit commission” to advise on how to reduce deficits. I know the public is gullible, but please.
This is the same man who is in the process of creating hundreds of new bureaucratic offices and many thousand pages of as-yet unwritten regulations in Obamacare and the Financial Reform Bill.
In the middle of that, with a straight face President Obama is ordering a review of government regulations, ostensibly to reduce the regulatory burden on business. You can’t make this stuff up.
If President Obama wants to relieve the regulatory burden and create jobs, he might want to consider the most immediately obvious – since the heavy hand of Obamacare starts with businesses of 50 or more employees, small businesses just under the limit are loathe to hire new employees and thereby pull the trigger. Can you say job-killer?
Is there no limit to how much of this absurdity the media will leave unchallenged? Are Democrat supporters really this gullible?
Now the talking heads on TV news are talking about the president “moving to the center,” and some said in a serious tone that he is no longer a leftist, as if his fundamental principles can be shape-shifted to present any desired political image.
But, these are the same people who used to ask each other when discussing President Clinton’s transgressions, “Does character really matter?”
I never thought I would miss Bill Clinton.
When President Obama preaches job creation, and lectures nervous entrepreneurs about sitting on a trillion in capital, I feel like I’m sitting on the front row watching a magician preparing to make cards disappear in a complex trick.
I can almost see him showing the audience there is nothing up his sleeves while mesmerizing them in his confident baritone voice, “Watch carefully. At no time will my fingers leave my hands!”
[Terry Garlock lives in Peachtree City. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.]