This Thursday, President Obama will give a speech to a joint audience of Congress. It will be about how he, our President, can create jobs.
That is not his job. Jobs are created by demand for products and services not by politicians. The “How I’m Going to Create Jobs” speech is a campaign speech. Mr. Obama’s plan to “create or save” jobs is nothing more than a tool to build on his constituency in hopes of being reelected in November of 2012. I am not convinced that our President has any interest in “creating or saving” jobs other than to help him retain the power he has, and build more power for the future.
Why do I feel this way? First, let’s look at the “Jobs speech.” Were Mr. Obama serious about “creating jobs,” as he says he is, why would this not have been his goal all along? Why would he not have taken action already? He claims that the Stimulus Bill was a jobs program. The record shows that if it created or saved any jobs, the number was small and focussed on jobs in the government sector. In theory, government jobs are paid for by taxes paid by private wealth creators (Butchers, Bakers, Candlestick makers) and government employment growth must be at the expense of private employment growth – if someone in the private sector must pay for more government employees, he or she will have less money to hire employees for private sector growth.
If this jobs speech were not all about politics, why the timing he has chosen? I think it is a carefully planned speech meant for maximum political, if zero real-world, effect. A week before going on vacation, Mr. Obama announced he would give the speech when he returned to Washington and would be working on it while on vacation. He wants you to believe that he is working for you all the time. I would prefer he take a week, play golf, enjoy time with his kids and relax. When he returned from vacation, he announced he would give the speech to a joint session of Congress on the same night there was a scheduled Republican Presidential Candidate Forum. He, of course, did not want to give the speech at that time. Who would want to watch Mr. Obama read a teleprompter instead of watching the potential of a Presidential Challenger saying something outrageous in a debate? If those two events were televised at the same time, I would bet the audience would be over twice as large for the Republican Debate. His reason for choosing that date was so he could pretend that the Speaker of the House was being disrespectful to the President when (as Mr. Obama knew he would) Mr. Boehner asked him to reschedule for the next evening. It is all part of the political dance that seems to occupy the White House and Congress far more than the business of the country.
The second reason (why I think Mr. Obama’s speech on job creation is solely political) is his need to support Big Labor. He needs big labor to fund his reelection campaign. He needs to show that he is making opportunities for the 9.1 percent of the population that is officially out of work and the other 10% so discouraged that they are no longer looking or who have taken part time work. He must know that the way to increase the number of jobs available in our society is to stop restricting everything the real job creators do. For example, don’t you think employers would hire more people if they were spending a smaller part of their budget on compliance with regulations? I think he also knows that business people weigh the risks and rewards that accompany the decisions they make. Why would an employer borrow money to invest in space and tools for more workers? He would do so if he saw more return than risk. Unfortunately, today most employers see our government printing money and increasing regulation on business. Both these things add risk or remove reward from investors. The more government meddles in business, the less likely are businesses to invest in growth. Mr. Obama has not shown that he understands these facts. Or, he is aware but choses to ignore them in favor of doing what is politically expedient for his future.
He is, however, squarely behind the “Employee Free Choice Act.” That act would ban secret ballots and have union elections held in the open where Unions could (and I believe would) intimidate people to vote for them. Anything but ‘free choice’ this would be a huge boost for unions and a big blow to employee rights. From the standpoint of employers, this would be just one more reason not to hire more people and become a target for a costly unionization. This takes control from the risk taker – the employer – and adds to the power of the union. This is the sort of action that kills jobs or prevents them from being created. Look for Mr. Obama to mention his support for this “important legislation” in his Thursday Speech.
Job creation is not Mr. Obama’s job. However, if he is serious about job creation, there are hundreds of programs and regulations that he could reign in to help improve the climate for job creation. My bet is that he will announce that he plans to do the opposite. He will declare that we need to create a new advisory committee or a new agency or a new set of bureaucratic rules. He will want to study the problem.
The time to study is long past. Now is the time for action. I don’t expect any useful actions to be revealed on Thursday night. How about you?