Gary is an author, trial lawyer, Mequon-area resident and town of Cedarburg supervisor. He is a columnist for the News Graphic and writes for several Wisconsin area magazines and is a national columnist with The American Thinker and PJ Media. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and has three sons ages 18 to 28. Gary won Ozaukee County in his bid for the Wisconsin Assembly's 60th District in 2011, but came up just 58 votes short.
Never in the history of America has a president talked more about creating jobs and done less to actually create them. If speeches could put people to work America would have the lowest unemployment on the planet. Unfortunately, unemployment continues to rise as a president challenging Herbert Hoover's place as the greatest job terminator in U.S. history continues to read from the teleprompter. Instead of looking at his own job-destroying policies – a failed stimulus, mounting debt, repeatedly raising the minimum wage, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, and his continual class-warfare rhetoric - President Obama continues to blame our downward employment spiral on a never-ending laundry list of things only the truly under-informed voter could possibly believe have anything to do with the country's malignant unemployment rate. This list is laughable: the Arab Spring, ATMs, the internet, fiscal cliff "brinksmanship", George Bush, bad luck, and even the weather. When will he realize that socialism brings bad luck to everybody?
There is a saying in Texas. When they say that somebody is "All hat and no cattle" it is used in reference to people imitating the fashion of cowboys. These people wear the cowboy hats, but have no experience on the ranch. They don't know what they are talking about. Like our president, they talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. In his 2009 Inaugural Address the president of hope and change spoke to his swooning minions and promised, "The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth." That was four years ago. The unemployment rate was 7.2% and gas was $1.79 a gallon. Obama's advisers produced a nifty chart visualizing the positive results of his recovery plan. Nearly 1000 speeches later the unemployment has spiked past 10%, gas is nearly $3.50 per gallon, and over 14 million more people are on food stamps. We tried to warn the swooning masses of under-informed voters that the 44th president of the United States was all hat and no cattle.
In his 2013 Inaugural Address, the president was still talking about jobs. This time he said that research labs will produce jobs. Magically. He said, "We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise." Whatever that means. I guess if we wait long enough, new technology will appear, and with it new jobs. And then of course there is Obama's magnificent Jobs Council. Remember that charade? The doting General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt was tapped to lead the council. Its first meeting on February 24, 2011 was highly touted, publicized, and televised. It met only a handful of times. Alas, it was only for show. It was disbanded last month. I guess we have enough jobs. Another dog and pony show withers on the vine and dies.
Obama has spent the majority of the 1000+ speeches he has given trying to convince America that he knows what he's doing. If political posing could create jobs there would be no unemployment. But only the under-informed are buying his act –those who comprise the country's employment catalyst, small business owners, certainly are not. In April of 2009, at a Georgetown University speech given even as retail sales "unexpectedly" decreased by 1.1%, the president claimed there were "flickering signs of improvement." His plan for jobs back then included singing the praises of the largest recovery plan in U.S. history. He called it "a plan that was already in the process of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs over the next two years."
Who can forget the matinee performance of Obama's infamous "Jobs Summit" in December of 2009, a week after unemployment hit 10.2%? The president encouraged a bunch of his community organizer pals to "bring their A-game" and to come up with "fresh perspectives" and "new ideas." They talked and talked. The result? Higher taxes and more demonization of corporate America. Obama said he was looking for "specific recommendations" that could be implemented to spur job growth "as quickly as possible." Missing from the list of attendees were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small business owners, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses – critics of Obama's policies. In his closing remarks, Obama said, "We want to make sure we get in as much discussion as possible." There was plenty of talking, but the jobs summit soon went away and nothing ever came of those specific recommendations.
A few months later, despite mocking "blue-ribbon panels and commissions" during his 2008 campaign, the president assembled a "Blue Ribbon Panel" to determine the cause of our debt, deficit, and unemployment – something it appears only the president and Democrats in Congress didn't understand. Nothing came of it.
In late 2009, the Washington Post reported on President Obama's "renewed focus on jobs" and for the third time in six days, Obama gave a speech which was supposed to outline new ideas to create jobs. Once again, the speech mainly touted the $787 billion economic stimulus packed passed earlier that year and also recommended that Congress pass a side-splitting "cash for caulkers" plan that would offer financial incentives for home weatherization and called on Congress to again extend unemployment benefits. One might have expected his next suggestion to be putting more air in our tires again.
The following month, we were told that President Obama was planning to put a "heavy focus" on jobs and that he was now going to "redouble" his efforts. In January of 2010, the president gave the State of the Union Address, announced that he was going to "make job growth his topmost priority", and urged Congress to boost the economy with a new burst of stimulus spending. "Change has not come fast enough," he admitted, as he urged Congress to move forward with his job-killing trillion dollar health care overhaul.
In March of 2010, with unemployment at 9.7%, Obama signed into law an economically-flawed and unconstitutional $15 billion jobs bill which provided employers an exemption from Social Security tax withholding through year's end for any employees added to the payroll who had been unemployed for 60 days. Each job created would cost taxpayers $88,000, with almost all of the jobs created at high-turnover businesses such as fast-food restaurants. The ineffective bill encouraged employers to make economically-unsound business decisions that they wouldn’t otherwise make, except for the perception of the tax breaks offered - the farthest thing from genuine job creation.
In September of 2010, a jobs bill proposed by Obama and Senate Democrats ran into obstacles because it put struggling U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. Obama then travelled to Ohio and gave a speech revealing that his jobs plan consisted of another $150 billion or so in federal spending. He touted a Toledo restaurant as a major beneficiary of the government takeover of Chrysler. Less than two years later New Chet's Restaurant closed its doors.
In July of 2011 unemployment rose to 9.2%. The economy added only 18,000 jobs, less than one-tenth of the amount needed to find jobs for all the people coming out of college and entering the job market for the first time. Over 14 million people were out of work. Obama announced that although the economy was facing "tough headwinds", he was going to "work together to get things done" – like "streamlining our patent process." That same month, the hapless job creator admitted that his stimulus was a failure. It was explained to Obama while sitting in front of his "Jobs Council" paraphernalia that the permitting process can delay projects for "months to years ... and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned ... I'm sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act your staff briefed you on many of these challenges," he was told. At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, "Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected." The Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter.
In August of 2011, Obama began campaigning on his failed promises by driving around in two buses that soaked over-burdened taxpayers to the tune of $1.1 million each. The bus tour quickly began to resemble a national funeral and the bus a black hearse. The purpose of the desperate bus tour? More talk about jobs. As Obama disembarked from his greenhouse gas-spewing caravan with not a single American flag visible, he told the crowd, "I want to sell goods all over the world that are stamped with three words: 'Made in America." He then got back into his buses which were made in Canada.
Time and again Obama announce that he had finally come up with tangible ideas for job creation – but but wasn't going to reveal them until the following month after he returned from yet another well-deserved vacation. He would give yet another speech. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Each speech was supposed to contain "new ideas" for speeding up job growth and all of his proposals would be "fresh ones." The Huffington Post reports that the "new ideas" included help for millions of Americans who have been unemployed for months – in other words, more welfare and debt. On day 938 of his presidency, the president with a laser-like focus on campaigning and professional speech-making announced that he would have yet another jobs plan in a month or two.
Small businesses and corporations which employ America know that the key to true and lasting job creation is lower taxes and certainty. Our president's speeches and redistributionist policies have fueled the “uncertainty” in the private sector and have prevented businesses from hiring. As Steve Wynn aptly put it, business owners "fear" our president. "I'm telling you that the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the president of the United States," Wynn said. "And until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs."
It's now January of 2013. Obamanomics has brought us 8% unemployment (14.4% if you look at the U-6 metric which includes the long-term unemployed and under-employed persons). The feckless jobs council – which hadn't met in over a year - just disbanded, and in its place the president says he will begin an "expanded effort to work with the business community and other groups to boost economic growth." It would be hilarious if it wasn't so serious. For four years the speech-giver-in-chief has been far more interested in fueling class warfare, attacking corporate America, and putting on political theater than focusing on what Americans need more – jobs.
Real job creation in America requires reining in government, tackling spending, increasing domestic oil production, lowering tax rates, stripping regulations and the repeal of Obamacare. Instead, the president's Agriculture Secretary announced that Obama already has a jobs program in place – and it's called food stamps. Remember that? Tom Vilsack announced to the country that food stamps are "putting people to work." It's Bizarro World and Bugs Bunny rolled into one. Nothing in the history of mankind can compete with how profoundly stupid this stuff is, save for the swarms of under-informed voters who re-elected our president last year.
But never fear. Michelle Obama to the rescue. She rushed right in and urged young people not to go into Corporate America. Yeah, that'll create some good jobs. The president plays the class warfare card which demonizes and harms the very businesses needed to put America back to work. The simple truth is that until Barack Obama and his minions in Congress realize what the real problem is, our president's laser-like focus on jobs will continue to resemble a night-light.
Our current administration's biggest fault when it comes to creating jobs is a mammoth misconception about how and why jobs are created. Counseled by advisers who have never ran so much as a pet shop, our president continually talks about doing things to create jobs. The fallacy in this approach, of course, is that there is nothing government can do to create jobs. People and businesses create jobs. All government can do is get out of the way. When it meddles it creates obstacles, hurdles, and disincentives for job creation.
Our grim economic past is only overshadowed by the bleakest future we face. The American middle class just lost $125 billion in disposable income to higher taxes (you remember – the middle class our president was not going to raise taxes on?). Even the mediocre December jobs report was heavily-padded by temporary hiring related to the recovery efforts from Super Storm Sandy. The automatic "sequestration" spending cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011 are right around the corner again and the debt ceiling will be here before you can say "Stimulus." Gloom and malaise mark the economic outlook, despite the media's efforts to spin a sow's ear into a silk purse. The president's populist reform message and cynical posturing has accomplished its goal for far too many - to disguise the smell of our rotting economy. For all but the terminally uninformed, the president has been exposed. He is all hat and no cattle.