Geez, yesterday Obama punted on the Keystone XL project that the State Department had approved a couple of months ago after a 2-year review process. I wrote about this before here.
For all his endless rhetoric about creating jobs, it appears there aren’t too many kinds of jobs that Obama actually finds worthy of pushing thru.
From my perspective, he’s stymied or outright blocked job creation in the following sectors:
- Energy sector in all it’s forms, except green jobs (too dirty)
- Defense sector (too violent)
- Aerospace (Boeing action)
- Medical devices / products (more restrictive FDA)
- Financial services in it’s many forms (Dodd-Frank, etc.)
- Telecom sector (killed AT&T / T-Mobile merger)
He even recently created problems for the guitar industry because it was using wood that apparently wasn’t produced to the standards our government expect. And more generally, he’s cranked up the amount of regulation facing businesses in most every sector in a way that, at a minimum, can’t be said to encourage growth.
He gives lip service to jobs, but in practice the only jobs he appears to be in favor of are ones that are heavily subsidized by the Federal government:
- Federal and state government jobs, especially teachers and first responders
- Construction jobs – at least ones that are paid for with gov’t stimulus money
- Green energy jobs (even though these are costing the taxpayer on the order of $1m each in subsidies and loans)
- Health care jobs, even though we spend more per capita than most any other country
The main problem with this strategy is that none of the favored sectors are, as yet, net wealth creators. Each of these sectors are downstream secondary sectors that absorb and make use of wealth created by other sectors. If you make the feedback loop big enough and long enough, you can argue these sectors enable the wealth creating sectors, but if you are sticking it to the wealth creating sectors while pushing ever more money to the wealth absorbers, that loop never really gets a chance to work.
If you don’t enable the wealth creating sectors, you aren’t on a sustainable path – the whole shebang will eventually run out of steam cause there’s not enough input capital (payroll, tax revenues, etc.) coming from the wealth creating sectors to fund wealth absorbing sectors. Some would argue that the origins of this problem pre-dates Obama and I’d agree with that, but surely Obama has done nothing but make it worse at a time when we need it to be functioning at the highest possible level.
So, I’m left totally baffled where he and his fellow Democrats think jobs are going to come from.
- He’s stuffed every major private sector project / action that’s come along during his presidency
- He’s enacted piles of new regulations that slow commercial activity on every front
- He’s ceaselessly cast the private sector as the bad guys for every problem we face
I have no idea how any of this helps create the new wealth in this country that is required to fund new (sustainable) ¬†jobs in wealth creating sectors – or any sector.
From what I can tell, Democrats are totally down with this formula: jobs are crucial as long as they fit within a very narrow band of acceptable commerical activity. Even in these dire times, to the Democratic mind a good job is one that doesn’t pollute, doesn’t mar the landscape in any way, doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t exploit anyone or anything in any way, doesn’t favor the wealthy, doesn’t involve any risk of personal injury, etc.
It’s a pretty restrictive set of conditions and it is no wonder that there are so few sparks of resurgent commercial activity. If it were me, I’d make a very different set of tradeoffs. Rather than increasing restrictions, he should be loosening. If there is some mess made as a result, so be it. We can clean it up later when we are flush.