Another Devastating Jobs Report
The May jobs report is out, and it is not good. The Labor Department reported only 54,000 jobs created, while the unemployment rate rose to 9.1%. Not only that, the March and April numbers were revised downward.
According to NBC News, White House sources responded to the jobs figures by promising better growth in the second half of the year. Last month, when the unemployment rate spiked to 9%, Obama's Press Secretary Jay Carney even called the report "good news." In the months before that, there were frequent promises of "green shoots," as the President likes to call them. But for over two years, that's all the American people have had to live on -- green shoots and nonexistent green jobs. (That campaign promise of "five million green jobs," by the way, still stands. It's still posted on WhiteHouse.gov, although it's been airbrushed down to "millions of jobs." Does anyone really believe either figure?)
As every economist outside the White House and the New York Times now recognizes, a healthy recovery is not just around the corner. Economists have been racing to lower their second quarter and full-year GDP estimates to below 2%. There is growing apprehension that the economy is slipping back into recession. And all of this is happening because of the President's intense hostility toward capitalism.
With the exception of Obama's evil twin (aka Jimmy Carter), we have never had a president this antagonistic toward the free market. Obama arrogantly refuses to accept even most fundamental law of free-market economics: the fact that businesses must be allowed to make a profit if they wish to expand and hire new workers.
The latest evidence of Obama's contempt for free markets is his nomination of John Bryson as Commerce Secretary. Bryson, founder of the radical Natural Resources Defense Council, longtime supporter of cap and trade, and CEO of alternative energy firm BrightSource Energy, seems an unlikely choice for the post -- unlikely for anyone except Obama.
During Bryson's tenure at BrightSource, the company appears never to have earned a profit. Not only is it currently losing money, its own projections call for continued losses well into the foreseeable future. The venture has lost nearly two hundred millions dollar despite receiving billions in taxpayer subsidies and loan guarantees. Acknowledging these losses, BrightSource promises future success based in part on favorable "regulatory policies and incentives." In other words, even if, as it appears, BrightSource is incapable for the "foreseeable future" of operating profitably, it may be able to obtain subsidies and alternative energy mandates to sustain itself. That is not something I would boast of, but it is right there in BrightSource's SEC filing of April 2011. Based on what he has done at BrightSource, imagine what Bryson can do for the entire economy.
Obama's disdain for capitalism -- that is to say, for the economic process that feeds, houses, clothes, and educates every ordinary American citizen -- is a reflection of his extraordinary political arrogance. Only a president this self-important would knowingly sacrifice the well-being of his country for his own narrow political ends. But this is exactly what Obama is about. His only interest in the private sector seems to be how much he can wring from it in donations and political backing.
Threatened with lower reimbursements, the American Medical Association decided to play along with ObamaCare. They may have "earned" their higher reimbursements, for the time being at least, but only at the expense to the economy as a whole. One industry after another has succumbed to similar extortion tactics, whether it be insurance companies, electric utilities, or financial services. And Obama's tactic is always the same: isolate the target, threaten it with ruinous regulation and taxation, and then strike a deal on terms that are politically favorable to himself. Call it street politics, pay-to-play, or political extortion, it amounts to the same thing. And the average consumer and taxpayer always end up paying the tab.
Obama's approach to the private sector, in other words, is nothing less than pay-to-play on a global scale. It's not as if the President doesn't understand the damage he is doing to the free market -- he just doesn't care. Extortion is the guiding principle behind his economic policy. If the private sector can be brought to heel, it can then be forced to support the radical expansion of government powers that Obama seeks. Once he has a business in his regulatory grasp, Obama dictates the terms whereby that business lends support to his policies. Then he moves on to the next one.
That may seem like smart politics to a cynical, street-wise political operator from Chicago. It's the way machine politics and union organizing have always worked. But it comes at a cost to everyone other than the political elite and union bosses. That cost is now becoming apparent. There is a very good chance that unemployment will not drop below 9% for the remainder of Obama's term. And there is a certainty that the national debt will reach $20 trillion just for starters if he is re-elected.
How could it be otherwise with a President whose only interest in the free market lies in what he can extort from it? A President with this much contempt for capitalism is simply incapable of growing jobs or bringing about prosperity. For the American people the choice is clear: continue the destruction of American businesses or replace Obama with a president who understands that our national well-being depends on growth of the private sector.
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture.