If this is a recovery, where are the jobs??

Posted by: Phineas on October 31, 2010 at 8:03 pm

President Obama (and especially his fawning sycophants in the media) likes to compare himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who lead the nation during the Great Depression. In this brief video essay from Reason.TV, Ted Balaker looks at the current jobless recovery and see other similarities to FDR that Obama might not enjoy:

Balaker and Professor Ohanian blame the uncertainty caused by the raft of new regulations and laws coming from Washington, as well as uncertainty about the effects the progressives’ spend-and-borrow binge may have. Businesses hate uncertainty, because it leaves them with no way to forecast what conditions will be like, hence making them less willing to risk capital on new employees. It is, in fact, a rational response, something FDR never quite got: he wanted to tax retained earnings, solely to punish businesses that wouldn’t spend. The Obama administration has broached a similar idea.

While I agree about the uncertainty created by government intervention in the market, I’d add another factor: policies that are just plain bad, because they make the economic situation worse. In the video, we see one good example: the CEO of Nationwide Support Services wait anxiously to hear the details of a new FTC regulation; depending on how it goes, she may not be able to hire the new people she’d like to hire – or she may have to go out of business altogether.

Really, is this any way to run an economy?

Of course it isn’t. As is becoming increasingly clear as new research is done into the New Deal, the statist, interventionist policies of the Roosevelt administration (and Hoover’s) did not help. Indeed, they prevented a job-creating recovery.

The best thing the government could do would be to quit intervening in the marketplace and stop trying to engineer it. It’s simply much too complex to be controlled by a relatively small number of policy-makers. With minimal intervention and a lightened burden of spending, taxation, and regulation, the market economy will heal itself and create jobs.

Sadly, that’s a wise course we can’t expect from the current crowd, so this Tuesday we take step one in a two-step process of firing and replacing them with people who get it.

Step two comes in 2012.

PS: Yeah, I’ve been tapping Reason.TV a lot today, but, what can I say? They do good stuff.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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9 Responses to “If this is a recovery, where are the jobs??”


  1. The President is a sociopath and a liar. I can barely bring myself to respect him by calling him ‘President’.

  2. Neo says:

    Frankly, I believe that history does show that FDR’s actions during the Depression where about as equally useless as those of POTUS Obama.

    It was WWII that ended the Depression.

    While there are some who blame FDR for getting us into WWII, I don’t think they were doing it to give FDR credit for ending the Depression.

  3. david foster says:

    FDR did not project the kind of contempt for ordinary Americans, and for America itself, that has been such a constant feature of Obama’s presidency.

    Also, the term “retained earnings” does not necessarily refer to cash. If a company makes $100MM in profit and invests it *all* in new plant & equipment, its retained earnings still go up by $100MM, just as they would if the money were kept in cash.


  4. Mike says:

    Unfortunately, I think we are going from the frying pan to the fire. Fear, anger and name calling won’t solve our problems. I thought seriously about voting for Mark Kirk in Illinois, but I don’t want the Senate to be lead by Mitch McConnell.

  5. Phineas says:

    So, you’d vote for a Mafia banker, instead? ~:>

  6. alanstorm says:

    The best thing the government could do would be to quit intervening in the marketplace and stop trying to engineer it. It’s simply much too complex to be controlled by a relatively small number of policy-makers.

    Exactly. However, liberals are “Newtonians” – they are stuck in the belief, per Newton’s description of the universe, that if only they controlled everything about every piece of the economy, they could set it running like a clockwork mechanism, predictable in every detail.

    Reality demonstrates this belief to be false, repeatedly and hard – it’s more of a quantum phenomenon, unpredictable in the details and stable only in the aggregate.

  7. Carlos says:

    IF we can survive the lame duck session, and IF we succeed in getting full control of the House, then Duh-1 will go into full Marxist mode and the country will be run by executive order because, you know, he’s the president and all, and he can do whatever he wants to because he won, you know.

    I fervently hope the first time he tries that he is challenged in court, and the court recognizes the inherent danger, and the court slaps him down so hard he’ll never forget it. AND that the court also addresses the question of the legitimacy of his “czars” as a means of avoiding senatorial confirmation.

    We’re long past the time of subtle danger, folks.

  8. Phineas says:

    Interesting you should mention the possibility of PBO bypassing Congress via executive orders, Carlos: Richard Fernandez at Pajamas Media yesterday had and interesting (and disturbing) piece about the potential for conflict between a Congress determined to pare back the regulatory state, on the one hand, and the President and the bureaucracy on the other: Aftermath.

  9. Carlos says:

    It is not in their (academia, the elitists, the arrogancia) constitutional makeup, Phineus, to leave the economy (or anything else) alone. The world, in their inflated vision, is there for them to control at will, and they can’t understand why doofuses like us can’t see the wisdom in letting their superior intellects do that without question.

    Hence, the Great Depression”, and now a recession that should have lasted maybe 8 mos., twelve max. Also, The U.S.S.R., China, North Korea, East Germany, Cuber, name any socialist state that has failed its people (which is all of them).