The Conversation

The Uncle Screwtape of unemployment

The March unemployment report is out, and it's a staggering disaster.  Job creation toddled in at a mere 88,000, while an astonishing 496,000 people fled the workforce entirely... perversely causing the silly U-3 unemployment metric to tick down to 7.6 percent.  The workforce is now down to Jimmy Carter levels; soon the final triumph of Obamanomics will arrive, when hardly anyone is bothering to look for work, but most of them can get jobs fairly quickly.

The Administration always cautions us not to read too much into any one job report (unless it was a good report, of course.)  But we're sitting at the end of a four-year trainwreck of anemic growth and weak employment recovery.  We've never had a real recovery at all.  We are performing well below the baseline level of American economic performance.  We've been left too weak and hollow by Obama's Big Government policies to react to new challenges, or exploit new opportunities.  This is what stasis looks like: crossing our fingers and hoping next month's job report looks a little better, while abandoning all hope that we'll ever see 5 percent unemployment again.

What has Obama given employers to rally around, or feel hopeful for?  His sweaty apologists are trying to cook up some crazy story about how fear of sequestration suppressed job growth.  Who cultivated and spread that fear more diligently than Obama?  The only "solutions" he can ever talk about involve more stasis, more malaise, more government control: bigger spending, higher taxes, more regulation, more mandates.  Everything he talks about doing increases the cost of labor, reduces the ability of business owners to exploit opportunity, or seizes a bigger chunk of whatever profits they can eke out.  And he pushes this agenda by relentlessly demonizing job creators.

Political influence has become the most valuable resource in America.  If you have it, you can get billion-dollar subsidies for business models that no sane private investor would touch.  If you lack political influence, Obama's government could destroy you on a whim, to appease his activist constituencies.  If you succeed despite these obstacles, your pockets will be picked for fresh revenue... and you can bet those grasping government hands will be jammed even deeper in your pockets if the Democrats win back total control of Washington in 2014.  

The philosophy guiding these demands is one of hopelessness and despair.  The Little Guy can't make it without government help.  The Sainted Middle Class needs welfare to survive.  Free people cannot be trusted to work together voluntarily, or take proper care of the world around them.  The American Dream arrives in the form of a 15-page ObamaCare application with 61 pages of instructions and a hundred thousand new government employees standing by to help you apply for the subsidies you're "entitled" to.  Get it wrong, and the commissars of ObamaCare will recover the undeserved subsidies by taxing them out of your hide next year.

And all the while, a fiscal meltdown approaches over the horizon, but Obama is only interested in discussing it when the thinks fear of government debt can be used as a cudgel to beat more tax increases out of the private sector.  He can switch between "deficit hawk" and "spend like there's no tomorrow" modes in the span of a week.

What's wrong with Obamanomics?  Everything.  Almost every item on his agenda is toxic, and he's shifted the window of political possibility so far to the Left that we can't even begin to discuss the tax cuts and de-regulation this economy really needs to get back in gear.  Obama is the Uncle Screwtape of job creation.  We could go a long way toward regaining the natural American level of prosperity by doing the opposite of what he says.


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