The Job Wrecker in Chief

August 25, 2011

President Obama often tells us that his No. 1 focus is creating jobs, but his record makes you wonder what he might have done differently if his goal were to destroy jobs.

Those who’ve examined Congressional Budget Office data have calculated that each job allegedly created by Obama’s stimulus — and this is if you accept the fantastically generous guesstimates — cost between $225,000 and $600,000. But that’s not the only way in which the administration has shown its virtual contempt for efficient job creation and its callousness concerning job destruction.

In the name of compassion, Obama advocates seemingly endless extensions of unemployment benefits because his economic theology holds that by paying people not to work, you will create jobs. It not only fails to factor in the obvious deterrent that extended benefits have on their recipients but also falsely assumes that transferring money from one pocket to the next generates more spending — by some mythical multiple factor, no less. Back on planet Earth, studies reveal that extending unemployment benefits results in more unemployment.

But don’t worry; Obama is on it. He’s spent hours on the golf course meditating on job creation. In September, he is going to announce his jobs “reset” plan in some self-ballyhooed oration. But reports of such rumination and administration powwows on jobs are as phony as Obama’s insistence that he doesn’t intend Obamacare to lead to a single-payer system.

In fact, Obama doesn’t meditate, cogitate, contemplate or deliberate about job creation, because he thinks he’s already got it figured out. The only thing he’s doing is strategizing how best to convince the people, against all their reason and instincts, that his failed policies will work if he keeps trying.

Meanwhile, he continues to wreak havoc on the market with his onerous tax, regulatory and administrative policies. We know better than to fall for his promise to cut $10 billion through regulatory relaxation. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the proposal was “underwhelming,” and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the changes “will not have a material impact on the economy.” Just more smoke and mirrors.

Obama dismissed out of hand a farmer at a town hall meeting who said he was worried about “noise pollution, dust pollution and water runoff.” But the Environmental Protection Agency is actually considering more stringent requirements on controlling dust, which has prompted 21 senators to sign a letter of objection to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The senators say the proposed standard would be “the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation’s history” and “extremely burdensome for farmers and livestock producers to attain.” Obama’s callousness notwithstanding, the farmer’s concerns about water runoff are also well-grounded, as the EPA is working on new rules to tighten requirements for farms.

To get an accurate feel for Obama’s attitude toward regulation, we should understand that in stark contrast to the private sector under Obama’s watch, federal regulatory agency employment, as noted by columnist Ramesh Ponnuru, “has surged 13 percent.” These agencies’ “budgets are up 16 percent.”

Consider also the EPA’s new “Transport Rule,” which could destroy thousands of jobs, and its ozone regulation, which Cantor suggests could cost “upward of $1 trillion and millions of jobs in the construction industry over the next decade.” Other administration gems include its “new maximum achievable control technology standards for cement,” which may send thousands of jobs offshore, and the National Labor Relations Board’s unconscionable action in preventing Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina.

Big Brother is also working its paternalistic magic through the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, whose food guidelines are billed as a voluntary program to combat childhood obesity. By cloaking the regulations in the voluntary costume, government officials will be able to bypass the standard regulatory process. The government doubtlessly won’t tell us about a study showing that these new “voluntary,” innocuous regulations could destroy 74,000 jobs and cost $28.3 billion in the first year alone.

When evaluating the administration’s record on jobs, we mustn’t overlook the inevitably devastating impact Obamacare will have on jobs and businesses, as Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, testified to Congress last month. Puzder said his company is a “job creation machine” but fears Obamacare will be the wrench that grinds it to a halt.

As if this weren’t enough — and there’s so much more — the Obama-enamored New York Times has pronounced Obama’s promise to create 5 million green jobs over 10 years a “pipe dream.”

Capping it all off, the Congressional Budget Office has now lowered its projected 2011 economic growth rate from 3.1 percent to 2.3 percent, which is far below the pace needed to reduce unemployment. It projects unemployment to remain above 8 percent until 2014.

On the bright side, the CBO is not factoring in the 2012 elections.