After the arrival of a disappointing December jobs report, my thought on putting America back to work is simple: de-stimulate. That’s right. Get rid of the Obama stimulus monster, including the government takeover of health care, cap-and-trade, and all this nonsensical talk of creating green jobs. Get rid of the increase in marginal personal tax rates and capital-gains tax rates. Get rid of the payroll tax hike from the health-care talks. Get rid of the spending that is a counterweight to growth. Get rid of it, every part of it. It’s creating so much uncertainty that even profitable businesses are afraid to hire new workers and expand.
It’s like business is on hold as it waits for the next Washington shoe to fall.
Check this out. On Friday, the day of the sub-par jobs release, President Obama comes out with a new green-jobs program that will cost taxpayers $2.3 billion. He predicts targeted tax credits for all of his faddish “energy savers” -- presumably determined by hoards of EPA bureaucrats -- will create 17,000 new jobs. This is out of a total workforce of 153 million.
And wait, it gets better. The average cost of these alleged new green jobs will be $135,000 per job. It’s sorta like the $780 billion stimulus plan, half of which has supposedly saved 1 million jobs at roughly $200,000 per job.
And on the subject of energy-related jobs, the EPA is now going to penalize manufacturing America -- or what’s left of it -- with tougher standards to reduce smog. Of course, smog has already fallen 25 percent in the last three decades. And the EPA’s projected smog savings are so miniscule compared to the new costs for business that the National Association of Manufacturers, the petrochemical makers, and others are screaming bloody murder.
This little EPA beauty could cost up to $90 billion annually. All of this with a 10 percent unemployment rate, mind you. It’s another triumph for left-wing social policy over economic-growth policy.
And get this. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently announced that he is closing down federal lands for oil and gas drilling. This with the price of oil hovering around $83 a barrel and retail gas at the pump moving in the direction of $3 per gallon. Huh? Does anybody in Washington have any common sense at all?