Political Scattershots

Once again with a nod to Blackie Sherrod, the best sports writer ever, I offer the following comments and opinions.  They are worth 2cents at most.   Some may be gems, you never know.

I notice that the number of jobs the new guy says he is going to create with the stimulus package continues to vary quite a bit.  About a month ago the number was 2 million new jobs.  Then closer to Christmas it was 2.5 million.  Only about a week ago it was 3 million and now it is up to 4 million.   It is sure easy to make predictions about the future if you get to adjust your prediction on a weekly basis.   The language about these jobs has also changed.  Now it is jobs created or “saved”.  I find that interesting.  Who is the bureaucrat going to be in charge of counting the “saved” jobs?  Exactly how is he going to determine what a saved job is?   You can rest assured someone will be doing some kind of calculations on that one over the next year or so.   I personally think it will be pure pie in the sky numbers. 

Of the new jobs created I have the same question.  How do you calculate that number?   I mean if the market is ever left alone and we do start recovering in our economy new jobs will be created by private industry.  Do all those new jobs count because someone alleges they were created due to the stimulus?   What about all the new companies that start businesses that get no help or funding from the Government–will all those jobs count as “new” jobs created by the stimulus?  Will they be subtracting from the number the jobs that will be lost in say the coal mine industry or the power plants operated on coal due to the new envoirnmental regulations Ms. Browner can’t wait to establish and enforce?

The transition team reports that 20% of the new jobs will be Government jobs.   Whoa boy I can’t wait for that one.  Another 600 thousand plus bureaucrats hired who can never be fired and who have little or no accountability for job performance.   Did you notice how hard those folks were working the last time you visited a Federal agency like the IRS or Social Security office?   Weren’t they all the most competent people you have ever seen.   That idea alone should be enough to kill the stimulus proposal.

The news keeps repeating that over 2.6 million jobs were lost this past year and that that number is the highest since the end of the War in 1945.   Ok, but our population then was only 150 million.  The figure is meaningless.   You think it is bad now?  Then recall 1980.  The unemployment was as high or higher than now, inflation was running about 13% and money was tight.  Businesses couldn’t borrow to expand and start ups were nigh on impossible to get going.  The economy was awful.  We even had that wonderful phrase for it–Stagflation.  The banks weren’t lending and it cost a fortune to fly anywhere on the airlines because of Government regulation.  They had those tariffs in those days and prices were controlled by the Government.  There was very little wiggle room by the airlines.   Same was true for the trucking industry, railroads and the Government controlled the price and supply of petroleum with FERC.  That is when you could get any of it.  Things are better now than then.   As a side note, the FERC still exist.  What the hell does it do these days except cost us money?

I saw the other night on CNN I think it was, some of those man on the street interviews about the Federal debt and deficits.  The question asked was how does the Government operate when it doesn’t have the money to meet its expenses.  Two people had absolutely no idea.  A third said they borrow it but had no clue where they borrowed it from or who were our lenders.   A fourth one had it at least partially right by saying he assumed they just printed up more money.   Appalling.  That’s the only word that fits such a lack of knowledge about the functioning of Government and its funding.

In another recent interview people were asked about the deficit and its importance.  Many responded by saying esentially that it was just a “bookkeeping” matter for the Government and it didn’t really affect their lives.  Thus they thought the stimulus would be a good idea.  When will people ever learn that there isn’t a free lunch.  It always has to be paid for with cash or credit.  Some one pays to put it on the table. 

Folks really need some basic education on fundamental economics beginning in High School.  Not political economics, neither left wing nor right wing, merely an understanding of economics and basic accounting.  You want to play the game then you have to be productive.  Just like a football player. 

The two best cars I ever owned were my Chevy Suburban and my Range Rover.  They both drove for miles.  Each had over 200 thousand miles before they cashed it in.  The most fun car I had was my little Karman Ghia.  It was fun but ever so impractical.

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Filed under Economics, government, history

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