In a capital that’s at partisan loggerheads, both Democrats and Republicans increasingly agree on one issue: The Obama “stimulus” plan has so far failed to provide the jobs and spur the economic growth that the President promised. Having sold his package by claiming that the $787 billion legislation was essential to prevent unemployment from reaching 9% by 2010, it rose to 9.5% mid-2009, to the highest level in 26 years.
But the problem isn’t just that the President’s insanely expensive “stimulus” program has been ineffective. Worse yet, his administration and his party seem bent on actively pursuing policies that seem almost tailor-made to prolong and worsen the recession, making unemployment sure to rise higher than the Administration’s projected 8%.
Almost every week, Americans hear about some new Democratic plan for higher taxes. Most recently, Congressman Charles Rangel announced that the Democrats’ health care plan would be financed by a surtax on “the wealthiest Americans.” But Americans aren’t stupid – they realize that measures supposedly targeted only at “the rich” frequently “trickle down” to people of more modest means. What’s more, they frequently cripple small business – one of the great engines of job creation.
Then there’s the environment. The Obama-backed “cap and trade” legislation – which heavily fines energy consumption deemed to harm the environment – threatens jobs and American competitiveness. Numerous small businesses will be unable to keep their doors open, as the owner of a small St. Louis bakery chain pointed out last week, noting that even a 10% increase in power costs would be prohibitive given his 2% profit margin. So there go more jobs, if the President gets his way.
But it’s not just small business that’s under threat. The Obama Justice Department’s antitrust division is going after big business with a vengeance. It recently objected to a marketing alliance between United and Continental Airlines – which would have simply promoted efficiencies for the companies and better service for customers. And it’s scrutinizing the telecommunications industry – one of the few upbeat sectors in the current economy – to see whether large telecom companies have “abused the market power they’ve amassed in recent years.”