What Planet Is She On?Sep. 02, 2010
President Obama's top economic adviser, Christina Romer, said in her final speech in that capacity yesterday that "there is widespread agreement that the act (so-called stimulus bill) is broadly on track." Another Orwellian attempt to make true what is not by saying it is despite the instinctive knowledge by almost all not in denial that it is false. Truly galling, especially to the millions suffering from unemployment or underemployment. They are the ones from personal experience, not the ivory tower and its theoretical exercises — from whence Dr. Romer came and to where she returns (UC-Berkeley) — who truly know how off track the president's policies are. Here's how Americans For Prosperity President Tim Phillips expressed his anger in an e-mail today (the president in recent weeks has singled out AFP with vicious attacks):
Today, the news media reported on the final speech of President Obama's outgoing economic advisor. What Ms. Romer said helps explain why our economy is so bad. Defending the failed $814 billion stimulus boondoggle, she actually said, "there is widespread agreement that the act (Stimulus bill) is broadly on track."
What planet is this lady on? Jobless claims are through the roof, unemployment is still almost 10% with 500,000 initial jobless claims, the stock market is plunging again, existing home sales fell 27% in August and new home sales fell 12% (always a key economic indicator), automobile sales fell 25% in August (we knew government run "cash for clunkers" was not genuine prosperity). I could go on.
Is the President's top economist leaving to go back to business in the private sector? Uh, no. She's going back to her academic perch at the University of California-Berkley. At least we just figured out the planet.
Reminds me of a famous quote that goes something like this: There are no experts in government. If there were, the private sector would've hired them by now. Ms. Romer and the Keystone Cops who comprise the Obama administration — most of whom have never worked in the private sector (Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog) — are, sadly, fitting that bill.
Stat Of The Day: America's New Growth IndustryJul. 29, 2010
Time for our every-now-and-then-peek into the world of finance, fiscal policy and macroeconomics — and their affect on the body politic. The widely quoted Kent Engelke (see Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Dow Jones, etc.), the chief economics strategist and managing director of Richmond-based Capitol Securities Management, today wrote this in his daily morning commentary, regarding one of the causes of out-of-control government spending at all levels:
About twenty years ago government workers gained incredible power by being allowed to unionize demanding private sector pay while maintaining generous government benefits under the guise that such were required to attract top talent. Twenty years later I believe the pendulum has swung too far. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics total employer compensation costs are $27.73 per hour in business and $39.81 in state and local government. Wow! Great pay, great benefits and a small probability of losing one’s job. Something is amiss.
Amiss, indeed. In fact, while the private sector is losing jobs, the public sector is adding jobs. Thank you, "stimulus" bill.) The only thing it is stimulating is the growth of government. Six of the wealthiest localities in the country now are those on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., including: Fairfax, Arlington, Stafford and Prince William counties, as well as the city of Alexandria (see Forbes). Not that this has gone unnoticed by the public at large. As Engelke writes, there is a political consequence to the Left's promiscuous unionization of what once was known as public service:
As all polls suggest, most have little regard for Congress reflected by 15% approval ratings. The President’s approval ratings are the lowest of any President at this time in any administration. The major reasons — (lack of) jobs and out of control fiscal spending.
Lack of jobs, that is, except for those in government, America's new growth industry.
Alarming Gallup Study: Federal Government, Despite Debt, Is Adding Jobs Faster Than Private Sector!Jun. 15, 2010
Apparently, the liberal regime in Washington, D.C. — the one waging war on the American economy — is not getting the message, either from the public nor from common sense economics: You can't balance the budget when the government unconsciously borrows and prints money with no end in sight. It's not how healthy economies are created. It's how economic turmoil and chaos are created. Still, despite the misrepresentation by the administration about an "economic recovery" and job growth, the fact is, most new job creation over the last few months comes from new hiring by the federal government! The source is none other than Gallup's Job Creation Index:
Gallup's Job Creation Index clearly indicates that state and local governments are in the midst of significant downsizing, no doubt reflecting budgetary issues resulting from recessionary pressures on the tax (and other) revenue that funds these governments.
Hiring at the federal level has apparently to date escaped these same fiscal pressures. Indeed, the federal government appears to be significantly outpacing the private sector in terms of the relative number of jobs created.
This when the federal government is running annual deficit the size of many countries' entire economic output, estimated at an inconceivable $1.3 trillion this year (Wall Street Journal). For a president whose supporters claim is the smartest man alive, not spending more than you take in doesn't seem to be a hard concept to comprehend. The states are doing so. But, in the Age of Obama, we'll all end up working for the government — doctors, automobile manufacturers, insurance agents, bankers. If you don't have a government job yet, be patient. Your time is coming.
Governments Unbothered And UnrestrainedMay. 08, 2008
What do you call a quarter of (however small) gross domestic product growth, rising worker productivity and dropping labor unit costs (an inflation factor); a month with a lower unemployment rate, rising factory orders and increased consumer purchases; two straight weeks of declining unemployment insurance claims and a year of increased wages? If you're a liberal running for office or a member of the Mainstream Media, it's a recession. The economy surely isn't in great shape with gas prices as high as they are, along with rising ethanol production decreasing food supplies and increasing food prices (thanks environmentalist wackos). But by no statistical measurement are we in a recession — yet.
We're not the only ones who think that. A major institution agrees: Government.
Perhaps nothing is more disturbing during these unsure economic times than the fact that government, at all levels and across all regions of the country, continues to add jobs to their bureaucracies. According to a recent analysis of all employment sectors, despite the job reductions and efficiencies the private sector has been forced into — created primarily by government policies of high taxation, artificially high energy prices because of a lack of domestic production, and rising food prices because of farm subsidies to grow corn for ethanol at the expense of other crops — the public sector (i.e., government) continues to grow!
Here's an excerpt from an AP dispatch (emphasis added):
On the jobs front, construction companies slashed 61,000 positions in April. Manufacturers cut 46,000 and retailers got rid of 27,000. Those losses were eclipsed by job gains in education and health care, professional and business services, the government and elsewhere.
For what good reason is government growing? If not now, in an economic slowdown, then when will governments clamp down and do more with less? Will it ever stop adding to its payroll? In Virginia, we face a governor and certain legislators ready to jack up the gas tax as that commodity makes its way to $4.00 per gallon.
So it seems government is un-bothered about the slow economy and unrestrained in its appetite to confiscate from those it purports to serve. These same state and local governments complain of tight budgets and revenue shortages, while they rake in ever more money in higher real estate and assorted state and local taxes from hard working families having enough of a time filling up their cars with gas. Politicians always brag about balanced budgets. But balanced budgets don't mean a thing when they grow each year by taking more than is needed from hard working families to fund bureaucracies. That's never right, even in good times. It's especially cruel when times are tenuous.