Obama, Ph.D’s, And Some Bizarre Ideas About Labor

Austin Hill
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Posted: Sep 04, 2011 12:01 AM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with President Obama’s big-government economic policies.  We simply need more of them, and more time for them to work – or so the President and many academicians would have us believe.
 
It’s interesting to watch Barack Obama run for re-election against his own track record. When he became President in January of 2009 he promised to “fundamentally transform” America, and in terms of our nation’s economic policies he has certainly achieved this objective.
 
But after almost three years of “transforming”- which has involved putting healthcare under government control, a government take-over of two car companies, huge expansions in government control over banking and lending institutions, hundreds of millions of dollars spent to create “green jobs,” and a roughly 30% increase in government spending overall – nobody seems happy with the results (not even the President himself). In light of the history-making “zero job growth” month of August, things are perceived as being so bad that many Americans who once believed the President’s promises about job creation and free healthcare are now wondering if – maybe – our government needs to try a different approach.
 
This doesn’t seem to deter President Obama, or many of his ideological soul mates. At the White House, as in many universities, it is simply understood that private individuals and organizations only do reckless and self-serving things with wealth. And it is equally understood that when super smart politicians and government bureaucrats control greater portions of the nation’s wealth – with more taxation, more government spending, and more government regulations – well, those super smart politicians always produce great results for everybody.
 
Thus, despite the growing discontent among us everyday folks, the President is vowing more big-government programs, while highly educated intellectuals at universities and think tanks keep thinking of more big-government “ideas.” 
We’ll get to some of President Obama’s plans in a moment.  But first, consider this idea from Yale graduate Daniel Hamermesh, Ph.D., currently an Economics Professor at University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Hamermesh has proposed special legal protections for “ugly people” in the workplace.  Yes, he calls them “ugly” rather than homely, and he argues that “being ugly” is a disability that should be protected under the “American’s With Disabilities Act.”
 
Good looking people have all the advantages in this economy, Dr. Hamermesh suggests, and “for purposes of administering a law,” he reasons that “we surely could agree on who is truly ugly, perhaps the worst-looking 1 or 2 percent of the population.” “Affirmative Action for ugly people” (another term he uses) would likely create lots of opportunities for employment law Attorneys, but it is difficult to imagine that this would incentivize businesses (other than law firms) to begin hiring again.
 
Then there’s one of my favorites – the “Spread The Jobs Around” agenda from University of Michigan alumnus Dean Baker, Ph.D.  As head of the left-wing Center For Economic And Policy Research in Washington, D.C., Dr. Baker has proposed that businesses be “encouraged” (read “mandated”) to stop laying-off workers, and instead  be “encouraged” to cutback fulltime workers’ hours and wages so as to “share” the work and wages with everybody, and keep people on payrolls. 
 
 “Spread the Jobs Around” probably looks great on paper at Dr. Baker’s office, and it sure seems like a super-smart guy’s clever way of preventing the unemployment rate from going higher (something Obama desperately needs). But if business owners are further restricted (government already places enormous constraints on hiring and firing practices) from hiring and firing whomever they need to in order to be profitable, businesses will have even more reasons to NOT hire new workers.
 
As for President Obama himself (by the way, his degree title is “J.D.” in case you’re interested), he recently established a new division of our federal government whose agenda looks like the mission statement of a college “diversity” office. By Executive Order, the President has created “The White House Office of Diversity And Inclusion.”
 
Exactly what this “office” will attempt to do to business owners is unclear (and the lack of clarity from the government is yet another one of those things that creates uncertainty in the economy and inhibits job growth – but I digress), yet its’ stated agenda reads as follows:  “Eliminate demographic group imbalances in targeted occupations and improve workforce diversity. To attain this, special initiatives have been created targeting specific groups, including Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians, women and gays and lesbians.”  In short, the President has a problem with some of his key supporters – Black and Hispanic people in particular:  the unemployment rates among these groups are in some regions topping 30%.  The goal of the “Diversity and Inclusion” office would appear to be to threaten and coerce businesses into hiring more workers from these “minority” categories, so as to enhance President Obama’s chances for re-election.
 
We’ll know more of what the President intends to do about “jobs” after his upcoming speech. But we can be assured of this right now:  Barack Obama will seek more control of the economy as a means of “fixing” it.