What, exactly, is the President’s jobs agenda, now that he’s begun campaigning on one, a year ahead of the next election and three years into his administration—three years in which unemployment has been as high as 10% and has stagnated at 9% for the last two years? Three years in which he has pushed through his Obamacare health care legislation and his Dodd-Frank Wall Street legislation. Three years in which he has shaken his finger very firmly at America’s enemies as he has presided over our retreat from the world stage.
Let’s review the bidding. His opening move, at the end of summer, was a $440 billion bill in which he collected parts of Stimulus I, with its spending imperative, added a push for higher taxes for his class warfare reelection campaign theme, and titled the collection “The American Jobs Act.” What were the jobs? There weren’t any, directly. Much of that spending, though, was aimed at transfers of national taxpayer monies to state and local public service unions—teachers, police, and fire fighter unions—to retain their support in Obama’s campaign.
When that failed, his next move was to pull his jobs bill’s spend and tax legislation apart and push the spending piece parts—always paid for with higher taxes, rather than spending cuts elsewhere—separately. He did this against the backdrop of his campaign for reelection.
In parallel with that, he’s been having his EPA write “clean” air rules that are Draconian in their effect on, for instance, coal-fired electricity generating power plants. As Josiah Neely, an Analyst with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, points out, these rules threaten existing and future jobs in return for highly doubtful favorable effects on air quality. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, reports Neely, says that enforcing the Cross-State and related rules could result in power plant closures to the extent that 183,000 jobs could be lost every year until 2020. Our president is unconcerned about this, however. In 2008, Candidate Obama bragged that under his proposals “if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can—it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
Just last week, Obama has decided to punt on the Keystone XL pipeline, a project proposed—in 2008—to build a pipeline to carry oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in Texas and along the Gulf coast. He said that, after these three years of review, he wants yet more, “to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood.” This delay will cost 20,000 construction jobs and potentially 100,000+ downstream, more permanent jobs in the US.
Finally, we have this announcement from the Stryker Corporation, a firm that makes implants and instruments for orthopedics and neurosurgery. Stryker is reacting to Obamacare taxes that are soon to take effect, and their press release, presented 10 November, says in part [emphasis added]:
Stryker Corporation announced its intention to implement focused workforce reductions of approximately 5% of its global workforce and other restructuring activities…. The targeted reductions and other restructuring activities are being initiated to provide efficiencies and realign resources in advance of the new Medical Device Excise Tax scheduled to begin in 2013….
Obama’s Medical Excise Tax is an Obamacare tax that applies to revenues, as opposed to profits, and it is driving companies that want to do development work in this area to reduce effort in this area and to reduce associated employment. Other companies will likely outsource jobs to overseas jurisdictions that don’t have such counterproductive employment policies. (As an aside, it needs to be noted that Stryker’s implants now will be harder, and more expensive, for our wounded veterans to obtain.)
Finally, Obama’s do-nothing Democrat Senate is sitting on 15 jobs bills that would have a real impact on our unemployment and our unemployment rate.
What is Obama’s jobs agenda, then? He doesn’t have one. He’s still working on his tax and spend agenda, and pushing class warfare to get more of it imposed.