Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bill, Amity, and Mort on Jobs

Good old Bill Clinton has just come out in Newsweek with a 14 point program on jobs to highlight his Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Chicago. The former president's plan treads delicately, as he doesn't want to tread on Obama's toes. But he does have some good ideas: Cash for business startups, which would reduce the current problem that aspiring startups can't tap home equity, because they don't have any; and copying Rep. Ryan on lowering the corporate income tax rates. But there's a lot of silly stuff on green energy, which is perhaps marginally less silly than the president's green energy program. The big problem with the economy is the economic detritus from a century of government meddling. That is something that politician Clinton just doesn't get, as he proposes to pile on with more, and still more government meddling with the economic system.

Forgotten Man author Amity Shlaes takes us through the 1970s and a Federal Reserve that was always behind the curve on monetary inflation, until Paul Volcker came in and slammed on the brakes in 1979. We'll need someone to do that this time, she argues, and it won't be Gentle Ben Bernanke. Double dip recession? Not quite yet, I'd say. The Fed is still fighting recession, and probably won't start fighting inflation until after the 2012 election.

USAToday honcho Mort Zuckerman does the numbers on employment and they ain't pretty. The fact is that businesses are afraid to hire on permanent staff.

The most recent statistics are unsettling and dismaying, despite the increase of 54,000 jobs in the May numbers. Nonagricultural full-time employment actually fell by 142,000, on top of the 291,000 decline the preceding month. Half of the new jobs created are in temporary help agencies, as firms resist hiring full-time workers.

Like I've said. The Obama administration is going to wake up pretty soon and realize what a deep hole it is in for 2012. Then you can expect a really bone-head Hail Mary play to try to make the economy look good for a few months. There's only one problem with that. I doubt if the Republican House of Representatives will want to go along with it.

We have come to the end of the government's ability to manipulate the economy to shovel money at its supporters. We are coming to the point where government is just going to have to start stiffing the government employees, the benefits recipients, the subsidy mavens, and the crony capitalists. Because that is the only way that we are going to get the economy moving again. But there is one thing certain. The ruling class will try every trick in the book before it actually starts to acknowledge the real problem. Government is too big, and it spends too much, and just about everything the government spends is waste.

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