A Victim of the Obama Recovery
After a year and a half of unemployment in Obama's economy, I was able to obtain a job.
I should say that from a statistical perspective, I was really unemployed for only about a month. I got a part-time job because I thought that the situation was going to be pretty bad for a long time. I also thought that having someplace to go and something to do would have greater therapeutic value than going to therapy.
My new job pays about half of what I earned previously. My impression had been that if I could get a job that paid between half and three-quarters of what I was making, I should consider myself lucky. As a direct result of my reduction in earnings, my consumer spending has gone down. My contributions to Social Security and Medicare have also been cut in half. According to the annual statements I get from Social Security, from the years 2009 to 2010, my estimated monthly benefit at retirement decreased by $500.
I paid off some debts. Now the institutions that had assets on deposit or loans collecting interest have neither. I can now take full advantage of the earned income credit and the making work pay credit. I can include myself among the bottom 50% of wage earners who pay no taxes. In short, despite all the efforts of the current administration to stimulate the economy, my economic activity has sharply contracted.
I said that I'm among the bottom 50% of wage-earners who pay no taxes, but I do not really believe it. I still pay Social Security taxes. There are all the other federal excise taxes on things like gasoline, alcohol, tobacco, and the telephone -- some of which I pay and some of which I am able to avoid. I also understand that taxes paid by corporations, producers, and service providers simply flow through to the final price I pay.
The problem with the claim that the bottom 50% of wage-earners pay no taxes is that so many of the bottom 50% actually believe it. They vote Democratic because they believe it. They will continue to vote Democratic because they believe it.
In a capitalist economy, for the government to generate revenue through taxation should be easy. The bureaucracy does not have to develop products or markets. They do not have to manage production or supply chains. They do not have to hire, fire, train, pay, or otherwise manage employees. The bureaucracy does not have to arrange financing or deal with delinquent payments from customers. If the government were interested in tax revenue, they would not try to choose the winners and the losers. Unlike investors, the government does not have to put up any money to have a share of the profits. All of the winners, sooner or later, one way or another, end up paying taxes. None of the losers would cost the government a dime.
There was a time when American politicians were proud that the American people had the highest standard of living in the world. Now they are ashamed of it.
There are those on the left, seeing that my income has been sharply reduced, who think that I should be resentful of my employer. I am not. I actually believe that my employer is responsible for recognizing and responding to the economic realities that make my job possible. Those on the left may also think that I want the government to pass laws forcing my employer to increase my wages and benefits. I do not. I am glad to have a job with some benefits. I have a good idea of how much revenue my job generates. I do not want to price my employer out of business. I also think that government regulations and federal policy are to blame for me losing my previous job.
I do not expect the president to create a job for me; I do not think the president has that kind of power, and I don't want any president to change that. I do blame President Obama for his actions in office. (He said he wanted money for infrastructure -- well, the Keystone Pipeline is infrastructure that the government does not even need to finance.) I blame President Obama for the creation of thousands of new regulations and an environment of regulatory uncertainty that cripples everyone's ability to plan. I do not see anything he has done that makes it better.
My personal situation aside, I can think of no issue -- be it defense, race relations, immigration, monetary policy, fiscal policy, health care, the Middle East, education, or anything else -- that would cause me to give Obama my vote. He has no solutions. It is time for a change.