Yet, that is now the heart and soul of our next election and the Republicans’ contention that Obama has failed to “create new jobs for our country”. Thus he is responsible for our current unemployment rate. Conversely, I might add, that if the economy were booming, I doubt we should give credit to Obama for that as well. There are too many factors beyond his control, and no one man has the power to change them, especially with a hostile Congress.
Never the less, the ongoing Romney theme is: if only government would get out of the way…remove Obama from office… and let the private sector operate as is should all would be right with the American economy. The recession could be ended; folks would be back to work; and our nation would once again prosper. And, as president, he is the man to do it. A nice thought…but patently untrue! Indeed, it was the private sector (not government) which brought us to this fiscal malaise in the first place, and it is the private sector which is not helping us out of it, especially with job creation. I cannot see a single thing which this, or any other president for that matter, has done or is doing to impede private sector job growth.
Starting with the Republicans’ claims that it is government interference, and especially taxation that is impeding our recovery – it just has no basis in fact. Personal taxes are and have been low; and American business has been very adept at corporate tax avoidance. Interest rates are at a historic low. Regulation is provably lax. Major American corporations are loaded with cash, but they have learned that they can scrape along with higher productivity by stressing their existing staff, rather than adding jobs. Another possible use of their resources is to buy other businesses (or buy back their stock) with their cash – a consolidation which does not add jobs, but more likely eliminates them.
What then about the claim that it is taxes that are job destroyers. How so? We have been operating under all the previous Bush tax cuts for over 10 years now, and look where that action has taken us. That fallacy is most apparent at the highest end of tax forgiveness. In recent years, the top 400 taxpayers had an average effective income tax rate of 16.62 percent. That rate is lower than the typical effective income tax rate paid by Americans with much lower incomes. Yet, there is absolutely no real evidence that this generous tax advantage among the upper wealthy is incenting them to create new jobs. It simply is not happening. The tax breaks have been there for a decade now…so, where are the jobs?
Conservatives and the business community make the claim that it is “uncertainty” harming job creation. Give me a break. If you think today’s environment is “uncertain”, you did not live in the Great Depression (or many others in our history). You missed WWII. You forgot about the times when mortgage rates got up to 20%. You skipped the turmoil and discontent of the Viet Nam War. In fact, in the context of history, today’s times are more predictable than most. “Uncertainty” is a cop out for the private sector.
But what about all those onerous government regulations that impede business? Over regulation? Not only is there no evidence of this, more likely there has been lax regulation in recent years that has put our citizens, our environment, and our economy at risk. According to Bloomberg News, “Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father.” The real issue here is that the private sector has little incentive to self-regulate. Further, government size under Obama has actually shrunk due to significant budget cuts. Last month alone, government employment was down by 4,000. The decline of the public jobs (something advocated by Republicans) over the last three years has, in itself, added to the unemployment rate. Since June 2009, state and local governments have shed more than 600,000 jobs
When you synthesize the reasons why the private sector is failing us, they are complex, global (like the European crisis), and massive in scale; but clearly not in the control of a single individual (no matter how powerful a U.S. president might be). But demonizing Obama is not only unfair, is definitely not part of a solution. And, until or unless we identify the legitimate issues we face…and get political leaders and legislators who can work together in a cooperative bi-partisan manner…we will not find solutions to our economic problems no matter who will be president. Because the fact is Obama alone deserves neither blame – nor eventual credit – for our economic conditions.: