Analysis/Comment Dr. Peter Morici: When will President Obama put Americans’ jobs ahead of his own?
By Professor Peter Morici
Sep 16, 2011 - 5:01 AM
President Barack Obama enjoys a beer with US Marine, Dakota Meyer, on the patio outside of the Oval Office, Sept. 14, 2011. On Thursday, the president presented Meyer with the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, for acts of bravery in Afghanistan, at a ceremony in the White House.
Dr. Peter Morici: As President Obama
campaigns for more government spending - - a.k.a. his jobs plan - - new
unemployment claims provide fresh evidence the economy is stalling and in danger
of slipping into a second recession. Big government could easily take
unemployment above 15 percent and create a hole too big to ascend.
New jobless claims for the week of September 10
rose to 428,000, up from 412,000 the previous week. Having slipped below 400,000
last spring, these are trending upward. Generally, weekly jobless claims below
350,000 are associated with a healthy economy and above 450,000 with recession.
Recent data indicates the economy is at the precipice of a second Great
Recession - - perhaps worse.
Recent data on car sales and broader retail
sales, personal consumption and consumer attitudes indicates Americans are
scared. Other than high income folks in the luxury category, a general lack of
confidence in the President to adequately get the US economy going is becoming a
self fulfilling prophecy of economic decline.
Bad leadership equals bad outcomes.
Household incomes have sunk to their lowest levels since 2007, and the number of
Americans living in poverty is rising.
Unemployment is up, even as the economy has managed a modest recovery since Mr.
Obama became president. The Labor Department reported no jobs were added in
August. Mass layoffs have been announced at major financial houses and banks,
pharmaceutical manufacturers, and telecommunications companies. We will have yet
to see the impact of those in jobless claims and monthly unemployment reports.
Finance, drugs and telecom are at the core of US competitiveness and recent
growth, and with those announcing layoffs a recession can’t be far away.
President Obama wants an additional $447bn in new stimulus spending, but
skeptical voters should ask: How can more $447bn solve a problem stimulus twice
that size failed to fix? How does more spending fit into long terms goals to cut
The President responds with tax increases and asks Congress to cut spending in
other areas - -he is disinclined to do any cutting himself. How can extending
the payroll tax holiday for the middle class have much impact if paid for with
new taxes on wealthy? Both spend money, and taking from Reginald to pay Rachel
is more designed to buy votes than create jobs.
And so it goes, Mr. Obama proposes to send money to the states to keep teachers
and educational bureaucrats on the payrolls but wants Congress to cut funds sent
to the states to employ hospital staff.
One thoughtful proposal is an Infrastructure Bank. It would let US
multinationals remit profits parked abroad, tax deferred, if invested in a fund
to finance roads, schools and other construction projects, but we need many more
of those kinds of ideas to harness private capital and business development.
If President Obama wants to create jobs he needs to stop telling us more
government is the answer - - government spending and publicly financed health
care are just about the only sectors that have grown on his watch and those are
bankrupting the country.
If the President wants to create jobs he must tackle the structural
issues—beginning with the nation’s sagging infrastructure by unharnessing
private capital, However, he must also let oil and gas companies develop
domestic reserves instead of the government investing in fraudulent solar energy
companies, tackle the trade deficit with China that is destroying millions of
American jobs, and finally address rising health care costs and the equity
positions of underwater homeowners.
All that is heavy lifting and much less personally uplifting for a President
down in the polls, than is campaigning to soak the rich and bludgeon oil
Yet, it might revive confidence in government and the economy if the President
really acted to create jobs for all Americans instead of stumping to merely save
Rep. Boehner One-On-One: I think there are parts of the president's jobs plan where we can find some common ground, say House majority leader, John Boehner:
Goolsbee: Employment & Debt: Insight on Europe's debt issues and President Obama's plans for job creation, with Austan Goolsbee, former chairman, Council of Economic Advisers:
Professor, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland,