Posts Tagged ‘tax breaks’

Tax Breaks For Oil Companies? Barack Obama Continues To Be A Liar And A Demagogue On Energy

March 19, 2012

Let’s provide the facts first before we hear what the Liar-in-Chief has to say:

Are oil companies benefitting from tax breaks???

The record says otherwise:

FACTCHECK.ORG
Oil and Gas Company Tax Breaks
Posted on February 28, 2008

Q: What kind of tax breaks does the U.S. give to oil companies and to corporations that send jobs overseas?

A: Companies with overseas subsidiaries can keep their income untaxed by the IRS if they don’t transfer that revenue back to the U.S. Oil and gas companies received tax breaks and subsidies from a 2005 energy bill, but the bill led to a net tax increase for them.

FULL QUESTION:

When Democratic presidential candidates talk about tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies, what are they referring to and are they accurate?

FULL ANSWER:

It’s true that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have associated the transfer of U.S. jobs overseas with tax breaks, or loopholes, for companies that practice off-shoring:

Obama, Nov. 3, 2007: When I am president, I will end the tax giveaways to companies that ship our jobs overseas, and I will put the money in the pockets of working Americans, and seniors, and homeowners who deserve a break.

Clinton, Nov. 19, 2007: And we are going to finally close the tax loopholes and stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. Enough with outsourcing American jobs using taxpayer dollars.

Both candidates are referring to a feature of the U.S. tax code that allows domestic companies to defer taxes on “unrepatriated income.” In other words, revenue that companies earn through their overseas subsidiaries goes untaxed by the IRS as long as it stays off the company’s U.S. books.

But economists, including left-leaning ones, do not agree that eliminating this provision will bring an end to off-shoring. And here’s why: In the U.S., companies are taxed 35 percent on earnings of $10 million to $15 million or on all earnings over $18.3 million. That’s one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, making an overseas move somewhat attractive to companies that wish to avoid the U.S. tax rate. But that’s not the leading reason companies send jobs overseas. According to a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office, global technological advancement, increased openness of countries such as China and India, the higher education level of foreign workers in technological fields, and the reduced cost per foreign worker are all contributing factors to off-shoring.

We first addressed this popular theme in 2004, when we reported on a John Kerry campaign ad in which he blamed President George W. Bush for providing tax incentives to companies “outsourcing” jobs overseas. At the time we found that such tax breaks, which do exist, pre-dated the Bush administration and that even Democratic-leaning economists did not support the idea that changing the corporate tax code would end the movement of jobs overseas.

Three years later, in Dec. 2007, we reported on an ad launched by a labor group in support of John Edwards. The ad implied that corporate tax breaks were responsible for the shipment of jobs overseas from an Iowa Maytag plant. We found that the jobs were actually sent to Ohio and that, again, eliminating such tax breaks would not go far in stanching the flow of jobs overseas.

Oil Company Tax Breaks?

Both leading Democratic candidates have referred to tax breaks to oil companies:

Clinton, July 23, 2007: First of all, I have proposed a strategic energy fund that I would fund by taking away the tax break for the oil companies, which have gotten much greater under Bush and Cheney.

Obama, June 22, 2007: In the face of furious lobbying, Congress brushed aside incentives for the production of more renewable fuels in favor of more tax breaks for the oil and gas companies.

Both candidates are referring to H.R. 6, the 2005 energy bill that contained $14.3 billion in subsidies for energy companies. However, as we’ve reported numerous times, a vast majority of those subsidies (all but $2.8 billion) were for nuclear power, energy-efficient cars and buildings, and renewable fuels research. In addition, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the tax changes in the 2005 energy bill produced a net tax increase for the oil and gas companies, as we’ve reported time and time and time again. They did get some breaks, but they had more taken away.

-Emi Kolawole

Sources

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: A Change We Can Believe In. 3 Nov. 2007. Obama for America. 26 Feb. 2008.

ECONOMY: Policy Address on America’s Economic Challenges. 19 Nov. 2007. Hillary Clinton for President. 26 Feb. 2008.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Taking Our Government Back
. 22 Jun. 2007. Obama for America. 26 Feb. 2008.

Democratic Presidential Debate. 23 Jul. 2007. CNN Transcripts.

Congressional Research Service. “Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies: Current Status and Analysis.” Washington: GPO, 2007.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. “Offshoring of Services: An Overview of the Issues,” Nov. 2005.

Which is to say that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were dishonest pandering liars in 2008 and both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to remain pandering liars to this day.

Note that to whatever extent oil companies get “tax breaks,” they got them in conjunction with a tax policy that takes more away than it gives them.  Some “break.”  And I would personally enjoy it very much if every Democrat got the same kind of “break” the oil companies got where we give them a free monocle just before we gouge one of their eyes out.  Oh, and then afterward I could demand that we take the monocle back.

Here’s an ad from Barack Obama in which Obama personally demonizes George Bush for $3.50 gasoline (note: it’s going on $4 a gallon under Obama now):

Now let’s hear what our lying demagogue slandering weasel in chief has to say now:

Obama : End tax breaks for oil companies
By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times
Saturday, March 17,

President Obama said Saturday he can’t do much to lower gas prices, and renewed his call for Congress to end tax breaks for oil companies.

“The truth is, the price of gas depends on a lot of factors that are often beyond our control,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply. Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand.”

The president didn’t mention one of the few direct actions he could take to try to lower gas prices in the short term — releasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Mr. Obama called for that solution as a candidate in 2008 when gasoline prices neared $4 per gallon, and he reportedly discussed the option earlier this week with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Instead, Mr. Obama said his administration is cracking down on oil profits — on traders who “distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense.” And he called on Congress again to eliminate $4 billion in annual tax breaks for oil companies.

“Your member of Congress should be fighting for you,” Mr. Obama said. “Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies.”

A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service last year found that eliminating the subsidies would likely result in higher gas prices in the short term.

The address was the president’s second speech on gas prices and energy in three days. Public opinion polls are showing that the president’s job-approval rating, on the rise earlier in this election year, has dipped again as gas prices have risen. Retail prices on Friday rose a penny to a national average of $3.83 per gallon.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has pledged to enact policies that he said should lower gasoline prices to $2.50, a notion that Mr. Obama scoffs at.

“It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices,” the president said in his address. “There just isn’t one. Anyone who tells you otherwise — any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas — they’re not looking for a solution. They’re just looking for your vote.”

In 2008, Mr. Obama stood in front of a gas station near Indianapolis and pledged to “take steps to reduce the price of oil.” He focused on long-term actions such as increasing fuel efficiency standards and promoting clean energy, which he has done as president.

“I will work to solve this energy crisis once and for all,” he said at the time.

And let me repeat: Barack Obama is a lying weasel.

Do you notice that the same dishonest liar who said, “I will work to solve this energy crisis once and for all” – and the same dishonest lying demagogue who attacked George Bush for gas prices when they were less than what they are now under Obama’s regime – is now saying, “It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices.”  He should know – given all the damn quick fixes this lying hypocrite promised when he was lying and demagoguing his way into the White House.

Here’s more of Obama being Obama (read: here’s more of a dishonest lying demagogue being a dishonest lying demagogue).

For those of you who are more intelligent than a rodent (i.e. for those of you who don’t vote Democrat), let me ask you a question: if Obama increases taxes on oil companies, just why in the hell do you not think that the oil companies won’t pass those taxes right on to your dumb ass in the form of higher gasoline prices???  Which is another way of pointing out that not only does Obama want you to pay more for your gasoline, but he thinks you’re a complete idiot, too.

It’s past time for you to swing by the neck from your own damn noose, Obama you little weasel.

Obama Wants To Tax Everyone Just For Driving. By The Mile.

May 10, 2011

We all know that rich people are bad by definition according to the tenets of liberalism.

What also needs to be realized is that people who drive – no matter how poor they are or how much they need to drive – are also bad people by the same tenets of liberalism.

And bad people should be punished.

Obama administration floats draft plan to tax cars by the mile
By Pete Kasperowicz – 05/05/11 07:45 AM ET

The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.

The plan is a part of the administration’s Transportation Opportunities Act, an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.

The White House, however, said the bill is only an early draft that was not formally circulated within the administration.

“This is not an administration proposal,” White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said. “This is not a bill supported by the administration. This was an early working draft proposal that was never formally circulated within the administration, does not taken into account the advice of the president’s senior advisers, economic team or Cabinet officials, and does not represent the views of the president.”

March Congressional Budget Office report that supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles driven.

Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues.

The proposal seems to follow up on that idea in section 2218 of the draft bill. That section would create, within the Federal Highway Administration, a Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office. It would be tasked with creating a “study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems.”

The department seemed to be aware of the need to prepare the public for what would likely be a controversial change to the way highway funds are collected. For example, the office is called on to serve a public-relations function, as the draft says it should “increase public awareness regarding the need for an alternative funding source for surface transportation programs and provide information on possible approaches.”

The draft bill says the “study framework” for the project and a public awareness communications plan should be established within two years of creating the office, and that field tests should begin within four years.

The office would be required to consider four factors in field trials: the capability of states to enforce payment, the reliability of technology, administrative costs and “user acceptance.” The draft does not specify where field trials should begin.

The new office would be funded a total of $300 million through fiscal 2017 for the project.

This story was updated at 10:17 a.m.

The obvious reason liberals give for thinking that people who drive are bad is environmentalism.  If you drive, you are guilty of helping to murder the planet.  And – as the utterly looney-leftist United Nations wants you to understand – the planet should have more rights than you.

What the left doesn’t say is that the above is a pretense, not their real reason (although it clearly is the primary reason for the useful idiots who make up much of the environmentalist movement).  The real reason is control: the left wants to have near total control of how you live your life.  And the freedom to drive where you want to is a major obstacle to the type of control the left wants.

To quote one Democrat John Dingell regarding socialized health care -

Let me remind you this has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 million American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.

- is pretty much to quote them all on pretty much anything.  What they really want is “to control the people.”

Right now, you can buy a car, fill it with gas, and drive wherever you want to go.  That’s just wrong to Democrats.  You shouldn’t be able to do that.  You should have to travel the way they want you to travel.  To the extent you should even be allowed to drive at all, you should only be able to drive the type of vehicle THEY want you to drive.  And there should be a tracking device so they can track where you’ve been.  And, of course, ultimately, you shouldn’t BE allowed to drive.  It’s too much freedom.  You should have to use public transportation.

It’s really not an accusation; it is simply a FACT that fascist Democrats want to take away your freedom, take away your car, monitor where you’ve been by installing tracking equipment and tax you into extinction.

And the easiest way for totalitarians – I mean liberals – to do that is to make gas so expensive that the unwashed masses simply can’t afford it.  Which goes along with making the sacred “green” cars too expensive for most families to be able to afford.

So you’ve got Obama on the record telling a journalist that he doesn’t care if the price of gas goes way up; he just doesn’t want it to happen too quickly and make us angry.

You’ve got the man Obama handpicked for his energy secretary on the record saying, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”  When of course gas prices in Europe are easily double ours in Amerca.

And you’ve got Obama doing everything he can to keep America from being able to drill for its own oil.

Meanwhile, Obama’s response to shockingly high gas prices has been to demonize oil companies and decry their profits.  When what’s funny about that is that 1) oil companies make about 7 cents per gallon in profit, versus Obama’s government which makes about 44 cents in “profit” per gallon (with state governments gouging for even more “profit”).  And 2) by taking away tax breaks that ALL U.S. companies get, what Obama is really demanding is that Americans pay even MORE for their gasoline – because ALL TAXES ON CORPORATIONS SIMPLY GET PASSED ON TO CUSTOMERS IN THE FORM OF HIGHER PRICES.

Obama is not only basically saying, “Screw you, America!”  He’s saying that Americans are simply too stupid to even understand that they are getting screwed.

Obama’s Backdoor Taxation And The Coming Consequences Of Obamanomics

February 2, 2010

Remember Obama’s ubiquitous campaign pledge that 95% of Americans wouldn’t see their taxes go up one single dime? Oops.

Reuters ran a story that they titled, “Backdoor Taxes To Hit Middle Class.”  The Obama administration whined, pleaded, threatened, and intimidated Reuters to the point that Reuters took the story down.

Fortunately, the International Business Times is running pretty much the story under the same title:

Backdoor taxes to hit middle class

By Terri Cullen
01 February 2010 @ 06:16 pm ET
Next Politics & Policy Article

NEW YORK – The Obama administration’s plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.

In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year — effectively a tax hike by stealth.

While the administration is focusing its proposal on eliminating tax breaks for individuals who earn $250,000 a year or more, middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.

The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration’s Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.

If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.

Investors will pay more on their earnings next year as well, with the tax on dividends jumping to 39.6 percent from 15 percent and the capital-gains tax increasing to 20 percent from 15 percent. The estate tax is eliminated this year, but it will return in 2011 — though there has been talk about reinstating the death tax sooner.

Millions of middle-class households already may be facing higher taxes in 2010 because Congress has failed to extend tax breaks that expired on January 1, most notably a “patch” that limited the impact of the alternative minimum tax. The AMT, initially designed to prevent the very rich from avoiding income taxes, was never indexed for inflation. Now the tax is affecting millions of middle-income households, but lawmakers have been reluctant to repeal it because it has become a key source of revenue.

Without annual legislation to renew the patch this year, the AMT could affect an estimated 25 million taxpayers with incomes as low as $33,750 (or $45,000 for joint filers). Even if the patch is extended to last year’s levels, the tax will hit American families that can hardly be considered wealthy — the AMT exemption for 2009 was $46,700 for singles and $70,950 for married couples filing jointly.

Middle-class families also will find fewer tax breaks available to them in 2010 if other popular tax provisions are allowed to expire. Among them:

* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;

* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;

* The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;

* Individuals who don’t itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;

* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.

Notwithstanding that punishing the rich actually punishes the poor by punishing economic growth (the poor get their jobs because the rich create them, rather than vice versa), it was always a lie that Obama was only going to tax the rich.  People like me were pointing that out throughout the 2008 election campaign.

A couple examples:

Obama-Biden Will Come After Middle Class With Taxes

Obama WILL Raise Your Taxes And Your Living Costs

That Obama’s promise to tax only the rich was such a transparent lie that even the biased leftist New York Times reported on it.  The final paragraph in their article entitled, “Obama’s Pledge to Tax Only the Rich Can’t Pay for Everything, Analysts Say” reads as follows:

“There is no way we can pay for health care and the rest of the Obama agenda, plus get our long-term deficits under control, simply by raising taxes on the wealthy,” said Isabel V. Sawhill, a former Clinton administration budget official. “The middle class is going to have to contribute as well.”

The Wall Street Journal expressed the same point better (as usual) in analyzing Obama’s tax and spend demagoguery:

This is going to be some trick. Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can’t possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama’s new spending ambitions.

The WSJ goes on to say:

as a thought experiment, let’s go all the way. A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That’s less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable “dime” of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion.

We voted for a liar based on the huge pack of lies he offered us.

If you actually believed Obama’s “hope and change” that you would be able to get a free ride as Someone Else picked up your tab forever, you are a genuine fool.

Joe Biden summed up the Obama populist demagoguery by suggesting that paying excessively high taxes was the “patriotic duty” of the rich – which basically means that the middle classes and the poor either aren’t patriots or that they have no patriotic duties.

Liberals talk about “fairness,” as though its somehow “fair” that nearly half the country pay should pay no federal income taxes at all, while 1% of the American people should be compelled to pay 40% of all federal income tax.  They think it’s “fair” that the top 1% of earners pay more in taxes than the bottom 95% of Americans COMBINED.

This is America, where you have the right to sit on your fat ass while someone else works for the bon bons you stuff in your face while you vegetate in front of the boob tube.  Why SHOULD you work when you can saddle that burden on Someone Else?

Rich people study harder in their formative years.  They postpone prosperity longer to pursue more college education.  They work longer hours.  They save more.  They pursue jobs that are more demanding and more stressful. They invest when others consume, and then consume some more, and then some more.  And when they finally start to achieve, Mr. or Ms. bon bon feels entitled to confiscate their prosperity and redistribute it to the do nots.

And that’s “fair.”

Well, under Obama, your “fairness” is going to come home to roost.

Obama is considered “anti-business” by a whopping 77% of investors. whose investments stimulate economic growth.  Obama has gone to war with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce whose businesses create jobs.  Obama has gone to war with the banks that lend money to businesses.

Many businesses simply afraid to hire new workers because of Obama’s new taxes and rules, and the sheer atmosphere of doubt that he’s created.

We  are descending into a command-and-control economy with the government pulling the strings, according to a study.  And that is going to have severe consequences.

On top of Obama’s approach of punishing and discouraging businesses and investment, Obama took the Democrat Marxist-based economic philosophy of redistributionism and ran with it so far down the field that we could never hope to pay for it by taxing the rich even if we sucked them all dry.

Obama is spending vastly more money as a percentage of GDP than FDR ever did.  All of this spending is doing little to stimulate the economy (and what little it IS doing is both artificial and temporary), and the American people are going to have to pay dearly for all this never-before-seen-in-the-history-of-the-human-race spending very shortly down the road.

Now Mr. Middle Class and even Mr. Minimum Wage is going to have to pay for Obama’s massive government excesses, too.  Or else the whole Ponzi scheme we call our federal government will fall apart.

This hearkens to the words of Michelle Obama:

“Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

I see those words, “Barack Obama will require you to work,” and I see a bunch of communist proletariats in a mandatory labor pool squatting over their forced labor.

I came across an article entitled, “A New Slavery: Forced Labor, the Communist Betrayal of Human Rights.”  Oh oh.  Barack Obama isn’t the first Marxist who ever decided to “require you to work.”

Obama has created such gigantic deficits through his gigantic “government as God” approach that we will have unsustainable trillion dollar deficits through 2020.

Barack Obama will require you to work,” Michelle Obama assured us.  “Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

That means no more boob tube and bon bons for you, Obama voters.  Get off your fat, lazy, worthless asses and work off your Dear Leader’s deficits.

Don’t wait for Obama to start a forced labor camp in your neighborhood.  “Move out of your comfort zones” and start one of your own.  Maybe you cold begin by collecting your family’s feces to produce Toebee (compost) like the other Dear Leader requires his people to do in North Korea.

Even Liberals Realizing Obama Has Been Total Bust At Creating Jobs

October 8, 2009

This article is in many ways typical New York Times.  It comes from a distinctly liberal perspective, and views solutions to the problems that America faces through a liberal prism.

The big difference in this case is that it really takes a critical look at a Democrat.  It slams Barack Obama as being basically disinterested and uninvolved in – and even uncomprehending of – the biggest crisis facing the country.

Does Obama Get It?

By BOB HERBERT
Published: October 5, 2009

The big question on the domestic front right now is whether President Obama understands the gravity of the employment crisis facing the country.  Does he get it?
The signals coming out of the White House have not been encouraging.

The Beltway crowd and the Einsteins of high finance who never saw this economic collapse coming are now telling us with their usual breezy arrogance that the Great Recession is probably over.  Their focus, of course, is on data, abstractions like the gross domestic product, not the continued suffering of living, breathing human beings struggling with the nightmare of joblessness.

Even Mr. Obama, in an interview with The Times, gave short shrift to the idea of an additional economic stimulus package, telling John Harwood a few weeks ago that the economy had likely turned a corner. “As you know,” the president said, “jobs tend to be a lagging indicator; they come last.”

The view of most American families is somewhat less blasé. Faced with the relentless monthly costs of housing, transportation, food, clothing, education and so forth, they have precious little time to wait for this lagging indicator to come creeping across the finish line.

Americans need jobs now, and if the economy on its own is incapable of putting people back to work — which appears to be the case — then the government needs to step in with aggressive job-creation efforts.

Nearly one in four American families has suffered a job loss over the past year, according to a survey released by the Economic Policy Institute. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans is officially unemployed, and the real-world jobless rate is worse.

We’re running on a treadmill that is carrying us backward. Something approaching 10 million new jobs would have to be created just to get back to where we were when the recession began in December 2007. There is nothing currently in the works to jump-start job creation on that scale.

A massive long-term campaign to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — which would put large numbers of people to work establishing the essential industrial platform for a truly 21st-century American economy — has not seriously been considered. Large-scale public-works programs that would reach deep into the inner cities and out to hard-pressed suburban and rural areas have been dismissed as the residue of an ancient, unsophisticated era.

We seem to be waiting for some mythical rebound to come rolling in, magically equipped with robust job creation, a long-term bull market and paradise regained for consumers.

It ain’t happening.

While the data mavens were talking about green shoots in September, employers in the real world were letting another 263,000 of their workers go, bringing the jobless rate to 9.8 percent, the highest in more than a quarter of a century. It would have been higher still but 571,000 people dropped out of the labor market. They’re jobless but not counted as unemployed. The number of people officially unemployed — 15.1 million — is, as The Wall Street Journal noted, greater than the population of 46 of the 50 states.

The Obama administration seems hamstrung by the unemployment crisis. No big ideas have emerged. No dramatically creative initiatives. While devoting enormous amounts of energy to health care, and trying now to decide what to do about Afghanistan, the president has not even conveyed the sense of urgency that the crisis in employment warrants.

If that does not change, these staggering levels of joblessness have the potential to cripple not just the well-being of millions of American families, but any real prospects for sustained economic recovery and the political prospects of the president as well. An unemployed electorate is an unhappy electorate.

The survey for the Economic Policy Institute was conducted in September by Hart Research Associates. Respondents said that they had more faith in President Obama’s ability to handle the economy than Congressional Republicans. The tally was 43 percent to 32 percent. But when asked who had been helped most by government stimulus efforts, substantial majorities said “large banks” and “Wall Street investment companies.”

When asked how “average working people” or “you and your family” had benefited, very small percentages, in a range of 10 percent to 13 percent, said they had fared well.

The word now, in the wake of last week’s demoralizing jobless numbers, is that the administration is looking more closely at its job creation options. Whether anything dramatic emerges remains to be seen.

The master in this area, of course, was Franklin Roosevelt. His first Inaugural Address was famous for the phrase: “The only thing we have to fear. …” But he also said in that speech: “Our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” And he said the country should treat that task “as we would treat the emergency of a war.”

Now that’s the sense of urgency we need.

More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on October 6, 2009, on page A31 of the New York edition.

Not to dive into the genetic fallacy, as so many liberals so often do, but it is nevertheless significant that the Economic Policy Institute is a distinctly liberal think tank.  And Hart Research Associates aint exactly Rasmussen.  So while I don’t know that they aren’t right in their survey about Obama vs. Congressional Republicans, I would point out: 1) that I wouldn’t regard it as gospel; and 2) don’t forget that as LOW as Bush got in the polls, he STILL outperformed the Democrat-controlled Congress throughout his entire presidency.

In fact, Bush had more than DOUBLE the ratings of the Democrat Congress:

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

So in terms of net differences, Bush actually fared quite a bit better when pitted against a Democrat Congress than Obama is faring when pitted against Congressional Republicans.  And I would submit that the public thinks a lot more highly of Republican ideas than this smoke-and-mirror statistic would otherwise indicate.  Just sayin’.

I made that point just to demonstrate the statistical sleight of hand going on.

Now, Bob Herbert is a big government, rah-rah FDR guy, who sees the big public projects of the WPA as the model for our country’s salvation.

For what it’s worth, I – and Congressional Republicans – agree(d) that that would have been FAR better than Obama’s $3.27 trillion pork-laden employment bust known as the stimulus.

A New York Times story points out why Republicans opposed the porkulus so fiercely:

But the committee’s ranking Republican, Jerry Lewis of California, asserted that the program would do far too little to finance road construction, flood control projects and other works for the public good.

“Facts are stubborn things,” Lewis said, describing the package as a recipe for bloated government programs that would saddle taxpayers with a debt burden “well, well into the future.”

And now even the New York Times is essentially acknowledging that the Republicans were right and Obama was wrong.

I would also point out that the Hoover Dam is named the Hoover Dam because Herbert Hoover was doing public works projects before FDR.  And Herbert Hoover was the guy that every Democrat loves to blame for the Great Depression.

And while we’re on the subject of what happened in the 1930s, I might as well point out that things didn’t go so good under the leadership of FDR.

In fact, FDR’s Treasury Secretary had this to say as he looked back over the decade:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” — Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

A look at the graph of unemployment should help you understand what Henry Morganthau understood:

It shouldn’t surprise you when you take the time to learn about what FDR attempted that he actually prolonged the Great Depression by seven years.

Having mentioned the massive yet mysteriously ignored failure of FDR to solve unemployment or get the economy going, allow me to return to Obama’s current failure.

Still another liberal publication, Time Magazine, ran an article back in July entitled, “Obama’s Stimulus Plan: Failing by Its Own Measure.”  It begins:

Back in early January, when Barack Obama was still President-elect, two of his chief economic advisers — leading proponents of a stimulus bill — predicted that the passage of a large economic-aid package would boost the economy and keep the unemployment rate below 8%. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Last month, the jobless rate in the U.S. hit 9.5%, the highest level it has reached since 1983.

And of course, it’s currently 9.8% – and almost certain to keep rising.

Now contrast what the Obama team predicted – a ceiling no higher than 8% unemployment – and then see what the administration is trying to pass off now:

Vice President Joe Biden delivered a rousing review of the government’s economic stimulus plan in a conversation with the nation’s governors. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought it would work this well,” he said. “Thank you, thank you.”

I mean, is this a statement that when team Obama said that they believed their stimulus plan would keep unemployment under 8% that they were being fundamentally dishonest with the American people?  And that 9.8% unemployment is better than their wildest dreams?

And don’t just say Vice President Joe Biden is an idiot and dismiss him.  He IS an idiot, of course.  But he is the official spokesidiot of the Obama Administration.

Having affirmed that significant public works-style projects would have been a massive improvement over the failed Obama stimulus, allow me to briefly point out a few other things that would have helped the nation restore confidence in the U.S. economy and the jobs that would have gone with it.

For one thing, tax breaks would have helped, but we didn’t get them.

Contrary to Democrat fluffery, there really weren’t “tax breaks” in the stimulus.  Rather, the people who got the “breaks” didn’t actually pay federal income taxes.  The “tax breaks” were really welfare breaks.  Lowering taxes stimulates more investment and more productivity by allowing investors to keep more of what they earn, rather than incentivizing them to shelter their money, which raising taxes invariably does.  Transferring money from the pockets of tax payers and giving it to those who didn’t pay federal income taxes – even if you euphemistically call it a “tax break” – simply doesn’t accomplish that goal.

Another thing that would have helped was targeting stimulus toward the businesses that actually do most of the hiring.

Small businesses which employ 20 or fewer workers are responsible for 50% of the jobs in this country.  And businesses defined as “small businesses” are responsible for nearly 3/4ths of the total jobs in the USA.

And what did small businesses get from the stimulus? Butkus.  The porn-loving National Endowment for the Arts actually got more stimulus funds than all the small businesses in the country combined.

If Democrats wanted to create jobs, they might have considered giving the money to businesses that actually created jobs, rather than to their politically connected liberal special interest groups.  Again, just sayin’.

It also would have helped if the stimulus had been something that actually helped more than it hurt.  The Congressional Budget Office, hardly a conservative bastion, reported that the stimulus bill would lead to a lower GDP 5 to 10 years out than if Congress had done absolutely NOTHING.  The enormous government spending will ultimately crowd out private investment which would have had a much higher chance of increasing GDP than the spending in the stimulus bill.


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