Making a Choice

Where did President Obama go after killing off thousands of Keystone XL pipeline construction and manufacturing jobs? Why, Disney World, of course. Sabotaging work is hard work for Goofy and his pals.

And where’d he head after that? Why, up to Manhattan for more high-priced campaign fundraisers charging up to $38,500 per partier. The business of wining and dining politically connected donors ain’t child’s play, you know. (Michelle Malkin)

On Tuesday, President Obama met with his so-called Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to discuss its recommendations for the U.S. economy. Despite the panel being stacked with cronies and rent-seekers, its recommendations were mostly sensible. The council recommended aggressively pushing to develop U.S. energy resources, streamlining federal regulations and reforming the corporate tax code to reduce the rate and spur international competitiveness.

In his opening comments Obama said, “I’ve personally emphasized to the White House team and to the cabinet the importance of aggressively implementing the recommendations of this job council.” The facts suggest otherwise.

On Wednesday, the president spiked the Keystone XL pipeline, preventing tens of thousands of jobs from being created and weakening precisely the type of energy infrastructure that the jobs council recommended. To quote the council’s report, “Policies that facilitate the safe, thoughtful and timely development of pipeline, transmission and distribution projects are necessary.” But what if such a development comes into conflict with ideologically motivated, powerful environmental special interests? We now know where Obama comes down.

What about streamlining federal regulations? On Tuesday Obama said, “I tasked federal agencies to cut inefficient or excessively burdensome regulations, and … the preliminary results are exciting.” But nobody other than Obama’s left-wing base has found the progress particularly exciting.

Obama touted estimated 10-year savings in compliance costs of $10 billion, or $1 billion per year; even if the annual federal regulatory burden stayed at the 2008 level of $1.75 trillion per year, that would mean virtually indiscernible savings of 0.057%. But the federal regulatory burden is hardly standing still; it’s actually skyrocketing at an unprecedented pace, led by an EPA regulatory onslaught that includes dozens of rules that impose billions of dollars in new costs.

The Heritage Foundation estimated that just through the first half of last year new Obama regulations added $38 billion in compliance costs. The EPA’s newly finalized Utility MACT rule, its most expensive rule in history, will cost as much as $11 billion according to the EPA’s own estimates. That’s more than all of the savings Obama is touting from regulatory reform. More realistic estimates suggest the cost of Utility MACT and other new EPA rules could be more than $300 billion, putting millions of jobs at risk.

An analysis of just this year’s new regulations — and we’re only 18 days into the year — by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute confirms that Obama’s regulatory rampage continues unabated, notwithstanding the recommendations of the jobs council. Crews reports that in the first 18 days of the year, there are already 115 new final regulations that occupy 2,609 pages in the Federal Register. Eighteen of those rules have been designated economically significant, generally indicating an economic cost of $100 million or more.

The biggest regulatory laugher was Obama’s comments on the Federal Communications Commission: “The FCC, prompted by our request but also due to some excellent work by Julius Genachowski, they’ve already eliminated 190 rules.”

Because Genachowski has visited the White House about a hundred times and is clearly taking his marching orders from Obama, we can stop pretending like the FCC is an independent agency.

The key point is that this is the same FCC that manufactured for itself from whole cloth the authority to regulate broadband Internet providers, despite the fact Congress and the American people resoundingly rejected the idea. Over time, that regulation could crush the most vibrant sector of the American economy. The FCC broke with all precedent to release a staff report to kill the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, sacrificing tens of thousands of jobs and billions in investment to reward left-wing ideological interests. The FCC has also implemented mandatory data roaming requirements. And the FCC has relentlessly attempted to transfer ill-fitting regulatory frameworks from the old monopoly telephone system into the competitive broadband world.

In short, it simply doesn’t matter how many old regulations are cleared off the books when an agency is implementing an aggressive slate of new rules that dwarf them in cost and complexity.

Obama isn’t doing any better on tax reform. While bipartisan efforts to make the U.S. more competitive by broadening the base and lowering the rate on the corporate income tax have gained momentum on the Hill, the president has been missing in action. And the president’s budget is widely expected to again propose ending the deferral of taxes on foreign-sourced income, making matters worse by driving corporate headquarters abroad instead of taking the more sensible approach of allowing tax-free repatriation of foreign-sourced income the way the rest of the world does.

The bottom line is that Obama continues to pay lip-service to job creation, but his actions betray his contempt even for the job creation policies recommended by his own jobs council.

Vote for me, the other Guy’s an Asshole! 🙂

Different histories, geography, demography and cultures have left  various groups, races, nations and civilizations with radically  different abilities to create wealth.

In centuries past, the  majority population of various cities in Eastern Europe consisted of  people from Western Europe — Germans, Jews and others — while the vast  majority of the population in the surrounding countrysides were Slavs  or other indigenous peoples of the region.

Just as Western Europe  was — and is — more prosperous than Eastern Europe, so Western  Europeans living in Eastern European cities in centuries past were more  prosperous than the Slavs and others living in the countrysides, or even  in the same cities.

One of the historic advantages of Western  Europe was that it was conquered by the Romans in ancient times — a  traumatic experience in itself, but one which left Western European  languages with written versions, using letters created by the Romans.  Eastern European languages developed written versions centuries later.

Literate  people obviously have many advantages over people who are illiterate.  Even after Eastern European languages became literate, it was a long  time before they had such accumulations of valuable written knowledge as  Western European languages had, due to Western European languages’  centuries earlier head start.

Even the educated elites of Eastern  Europe were often educated in Western European languages. None of this  was due to the faults of one or the merits of the other. It is just the  way that history went down.

But such mundane explanations of gross  disparities are seldom emotionally satisfying — least of all to those  on the short end of these disparities. With the rise over time of an  indigenous intelligentsia in Eastern Europe and the growing influence of  mass politics, more emotionally satisfying explanations emerged, such  as oppression, exploitation and the like.

Since human beings have  seldom been saints, whether in Eastern Europe or elsewhere, there were  no doubt many individual flaws and shortcomings among the non-indigenous  elites to complain of. But those shortcomings were not the fundamental  reason for the economic disparities between Eastern Europeans and  Western Europeans. More important, seeing those Western European elites  in Eastern Europe as the cause of the economic disparities led many  Eastern Europeans into the blind alley of ethnic identity politics,  including hostility to Germans, Jews and others — and a romanticizing  of their own cultural patterns that were holding them back.

What happened in Eastern Europe, including many tragedies that grew  out of the polarization of groups in the region, has implications that  reach far beyond Europe, and in fact reach all around the world, where  similar events have produced similar polarizations and similar historic  tragedies.

Today, in America, many denounce the black-white gap in  economic and other achievements, which they attribute to the same kinds  of causes as those to which the lags of Eastern Europeans have been  attributed. Moreover, the persistence of these gaps, years after the  civil rights laws were expected to close them, is regarded as something  strange and even sinister.

Yet the economic disparities between  Eastern Europeans and Western Europeans remains to this day greater than  the economic disparities between blacks and whites in America — and  the gap in Europe has lasted for centuries.

Focusing attention and  attacks on people who have greater wealth-generating capacity —  whether races, classes or whatever — has had counterproductive  consequences, including tragedies written in the blood of millions.  Whole totalitarian governments have risen to dictatorial power on the  wings of envy and resentment ideologies.

Intellectuals have all  too often promoted these envy and resentment ideologies. There are both  psychic and material rewards for the intelligentsia in doing so, even  when the supposed beneficiaries of these ideologies end up worse off.  When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to  help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

Both politicians and intellectuals have made their choice. (Thomas Sowell)

And we Lose.

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez