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What Liberals Should Have Known Noboby But Us 400,000 Chickens

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Barack's Cunning Plan

by Christopher Chantrill
September 08, 2010 at 1:30 pm

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SOME OF you may know and love the British Blackadder TV series. It featured Rowan Atkinson as an upper-class twit and Tony Robinson as Baldrick, his crafty lower-class servant/sidekick. A recurring theme was “Baldrick’s cunning plan” that usually failed to get them out of a jam.

We will return to Barack’s cunning plan in a moment. But first this message.

Last Friday the Labor Department issued its monthly employment data. And the news was unexpected. The unemployment rate was up, jobs were down, but private sector jobs were up.

Next thing you know, Bill Clinton will be running for president reprising his refrain from 1992. Remember? “Everything that should be down is up and everything that should be up is down!” What a talent.

The Labor Department’s numbers come from two different surveys. There’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Establishment Survey that’s based on information from businesses, and there’s the BLS Household Survey that is based on an opinion poll conducted by the Labor Department.

I put my money on the Household Survey, and it reports an increase in jobs from 138.96 million 139.25 million. That’s an increase of 290,000 jobs. Here is how it looks. I’ve charted two items from Household Survey: the the Civilian Labor Force, people with jobs and people looking for jobs, and the Total Civilian Employment.

It’s a pretty dismal picture. You could call it the crime of the century. President Obama was inaugurated right where you see the 2009 marker on the chart. He came into office when jobs were falling off a cliff. And what did he do? He had his pals in Congress put together a $800 billion program of waste, fraud, and abuse, and called it a stimulus. Then he went ahead with the biggest job-killer in the modern history, ObamaCare. No wonder the job total has barely budged off its low.

But, hey, President Bush had a pretty big recession on his watch. What did it look like? Here it is:

There are a couple of things that jump out of the chart. First of all, the job loss was way less. But the other thing is even more significant. The labor force kept growing, right through 2001 and 2002. People were out looking for work. Not true in the Obama recession. You can see that, since President Obama has become president the labor force has flat-lined. People just aren’t jumping into the labor force.

OK, you’ll say. The Bush recession was really pretty mild. What about a real recession like the Reagan recession of 1981-1982? OK, here it is.

Here’s the shocking fact. In the 1981 recession the number of jobs barely went down. And all through the recession the labor force was increasing. People were out looking for work.

All in all, it looks like the Great Recession is a bigger problem than the Bush recession and the Reagan recession. At least back then the labor force was growing. Not any more.

It’s taken about 18 months, but at last the president is really starting to take seriously the notion that there really is a problem with the economy. He and his advisors have decided that they really must do something to show the voters in November that they care about jobs.

So they have come up with $100 billion in job stimulus. Part of the stimulus is a program of targeted tax cuts for small business.

The plan, floated as a trial balloon at the New York Times, is this. The administration proposes to take the $35 billion extra revenue from the rich, by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on taxpayers earning more than $250,000 a year. Then they will give the $35 billion to small businesses through targeted tax breaks.

Now we can see the true brilliance of the Obama administration. Now we can see why we voted for a man like President Obama, a man with a mind, unlike the last president.

Who are the folks earning more than $250,000 per year? They are, predominantly, small business owners, people who pay tax on business income through their personal income tax returns.

So Barack’s cunning plan to jump-start the economy is to steal money out of the back pockets of the nation’s most successful small business owners and then give it right back to them.

Not even Baldrick would call that a cunning plan.

If I were President Obama’s chief economic advisor, I’d be pushing my way into his office this morning. I’d tell him to forget the cunning plans and do the right thing. Extend the Bush tax cuts—all of them—and on top of that, reduce the corporate income tax rate. Right now.

Either do that, Mr. President, I’d say, or it’s lights out.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

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E. G. West, Education and the State


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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