2. The EPA announced it will move ahead with “Greenhouse Gas” regulations, which are sure to have a stifling effect on the energy market and jobs. Worse, this announcement took place after the global-warming zealots were exposed as charlatans, and while the nation is suffering through its worst winter storms in years while they claimed that the severe winter was really caused by global warming.
3. The Interior Department had a double whammy on the job market. Ken Salazar announced the permanent elimination of drilling in large portions of the Gulf of Mexico, killing thousands of existing jobs and certainly moving oil production to less friendly areas. But that wasn’t good enough for Secretary Salazar, who has made it his personal objective to relocate the lumber market outside our borders. He froze an additional 70 million acres of federal land from any economic use. What will he say a couple of years from now, when huge wildfires break out?
4. The President gushed over the tax bill, claiming a major victory. All it did was extend existing rates so as to not cripple the economy. But Obama also snuck in numerous budget-busting programs that will do very little to encourage employment.
While the President was passing some constituency-pleasing legislation, his administration continued to destroy jobs through needless regulation and intervention. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may have pleased his base, but, if they have been out of work for more than a year, their giddiness won’t last too long. His bipartisan efforts – a result of desperation, not conviction – may have moved the middle, but what really inspires them are a strong job market, opportunities for economic growth, and an increased value for their home.
Nothing matters more for Obama’s re-election than the unemployment rate – and that number, as currently calculated, is significantly understated. With the exception of the Tax Bill, which prevented the economy from falling off a cliff, nothing that Congress did will spur job creation. We still have four negotiated trade pacts, each of which would help create jobs and improve the economic environment. But because of opposition by lamentable labor leaders, the Pelosi regime never brought them to a vote.
Obama can pass anything or do anything he wants, but, without a significant improvement in the job market, his re-election is toast. He may have begun to talk a good game, but unless this economy starts creating 250,000 jobs per month, it will remain stagnant – with thousands of people continuing to suffer long-term unemployment. Layer on to that rigid regulations that restrict individual freedoms and if the deficit continues to soar, his goose is cooked.
There is a perception that the constituencies that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 will stick with him. That will certainly be true for the blacks, but not so for the young voters -especially those who were attending college at the time. They have experienced at least two full years of having their dreams dashed by a sour job market – and it’s not just the kids graduating with marginal degrees, but engineers, scientists and lawyers. The jobs will continue to be thin, causing even greater dissatisfaction with the existing administration. These kids are starting to realize that “hope and change” will not make a car payment. This frustration will ripple down through the undergraduates, causing the glow to disappear from the President.
The most important activity of the past month took place outside of Congress – and none of it was pretty. Obama continues to show us that he believes government, not free enterprise, is the solution, and there’s no way that will ever change. Friday’s job report will be the real indicator of whether he has hope of a second term.