Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's the Economy, Stupid!

By Alan Caruba

It is interesting to see how intently foreigners are watching the run-up to the 2012 national elections, particularly as regards whether President Obama could be reelected. Hardly a day goes by that I do not receive inquiries from places like South Africa, Israel, or England. Some offer comments on my Facebook page, but the concern is the same, can Obama be defeated?

To borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton’s 1992 race, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That will be the deciding factor as Democrats , Republicans, and independents go to the polls in November. The news for Obama is bad. Unfortunately, the news for millions of out-of-work Americans it is even worse.

On February 28, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and a coalition of business groups were in the D.C. Court of Appeals to argue their challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The fact that there is no correlation between such gases—mainly carbon dioxide—and a non-existent global warming probably won’t even be discussed. A spokesperson for the NFIB said, “For the small business community, the constant churn of costly and carelessly promulgated regulations has become too great a burden to bear.” Guess who all those small business owners will be voting against in November?

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) keeps doing something that is unexpected from most government agencies; it keeps telling the truth. In mid-February it issued a report which said that, after three years of Obamanomics, the nation has seen the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Trust a Democrat President to repeat all the errors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who prolonged the Depression for ten years while he held office.

The “official” unemployment rate has hovered around or exceeded 8 percent and this is expected to continue through 2014. The CBO noted that the level of long-term unemployment—those looking for work for more than six months—is over 40 percent! That is the highest since 1948 when the data was first collected.

Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, recently noted that “The official unemployment rate is going down, but that’s partly because many long-term unemployed people went into Social Security Disability, citing ailments such as depression. Now they have a monthly government check, they are never, ever going back to work, and they are no longer treated by the government as unemployed.” This is governmental slight-of-hand to lower the rate of unemployment while contributing to it.

Writing in OpenMarket.org in February, Bader noted that a good part of the unemployment problem in the nation is a severe shortage of skilled factory workers. “In recent years, government officials have depicted white-collar jobs for college graduates as the way to go,” said Bader who noted that, while seeking to increase spending on colleges, the administration has been “slashing spending on more useful vocational education that could lead to work in manufacturing.”

An indication of how poorly the government solution to the need for skilled manufacturing employees has been is the fact that the private sector has stepped up to solve the problem. The National Association of Manufacturers has endorsed a National Manufacturers Skills Certification System to fill the gap. In partnership with community colleges and trade schools, the program offers “a relatively inexpensive path to meeting the human capital demands of U.S. advanced manufacturers.”

It has not gone unnoticed that Obama’s stimulus billions did not produce any “shovel ready” jobs and wasted public funds on a range of “green” industries, many of whom, like Solyndra, have gone belly up. Overall, the “green” industries involving solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars have proven to be sinkholes of money that generate few jobs compared to the rest of the nation’s manufacturing sector.

Finally, after three years of the most anti-energy administration since Jimmy Carter, the rising price of gas is going to have a devastating affect for Democrats and Obama on public perceptions on Election Day.

To those foreign correspondents asking whether Obama will be reelected, I keep saying that the present economy with its slow “recovery” and the high rate of unemployed, combined with the government’s crushing load of irrelevant and odious regulations, is as good an indicator as any regarding the outcome of the November general elections.

If foreigners are as much concerned with U.S. elections as Americans, all the debates, daily silliness of political news coverage, and largely irrelevant social issues suggest that November will represent, like the 2010 elections, a massive voter movement away from “hope and change” to a Republican candidate that offers an alternative economic policy to four more years of the disaster called Barack Hussein Obama.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


James Enfield said...

It's unfortunate that our rulers in the Democratic Socialist Party are completely uninterested in boosting the economy. They fail to understand the basic tenets of a capitalist system, and continue to try and spend their way out of a problem they created themselves. If they'd just get the hell out of the way, we could easily outstrip Red China and the rest of the economic powers.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm sure it's just me but that pic of Obambam made me think of *Driving Miss Daisy*...

Yeah, it's just me...

Alan Caruba said...

@TexasFred. Miss Daisy was in the back seat as I recall.

The Time cover was taken from an old Roosevelt photo. Instead of a New Deal, he gave us a raw deal.

Liberals always do.

Doug said...

This one's more like it...


Lime Lite said...

Alan, you may be right about the economy, but the USA has never had a Black president before so I'm thinking you're underestimating his chances of reelection. All the MSM will do leading up to the election is hammer how racist you are if you don't vote for Obama. I'm thinking that's going to be worth a few million votes, and then not to overlook the voter fraud that will also occur.

LarryOldtimer said...

Mind all, I am very conservative, but it wasn't the policies of FDR which prolonged the Great Depression, it was natural forces. The market had returned to better than 80% by 1931.

Bankers didn't lend money to "common folk" back then, but did lend lots of money to farmers in return for a note backed up with a mortgage on said farm.

In 1930 came the "Great Drought", as it was called, and farmers had little agricultural production to sell, so in masses farmers mortgaged their farms to keep going.

That Great Drought in about 1934 caused top soil in 17 states to blow away with the wind. Said drought didn't end in Oklahoma until 1939. Over a million Americans became refugees.

The above caused the banks to fail, and no politician nor any policies could have shortened the Great Depressing.

As per usual, natural forces drive political policies far more than politicians.