Every day it becomes more clear that Barack Obama was an ideologue who sat, starry-eyed, at the feet of the graybeards and silver ponytails in elitist intellectual circles, soaking up leftist/progressive social and economic theory and dreaming about doing everything in his power to bring life to their vision of a sustainable, equitable, just, and secure America.
And it is now obvious that Obama and his minions viewed their rise to power in the wake of the 2008 elections as the golden, once-in-a-generation opportunity to begin the large-scale implementation of those ideas, regardless of the fact that America was in the midst of a very severe recession. But why worry – the recession could be turned around by a massive infusion of government money into the economy. Keynes had proved it. President Obama was a true believer, and he assembled a hand-picked group of economists to develop a plan that would fundamentally transform the country and jump-start the economy at the same time.
According to the administration mindset, important sectors of the economy like “green energy” had previously floundered because they suffered from a competitive disadvantage at the hands of the greedy and powerful petroleum lobby. But through a combination of regulation and easily available financing, government could act as the great equalizer, finally transforming green energy into a major player that could successfully compete with the oil and gas industry.
Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.
In addition to providing the above-quoted anectote, James Pethokoukis rubs even more salt into the President’s economic wounds by reminding us: 1) the President’s $38.6 billion “green energy” loan program was indeed an utter disaster, thus far creating only 3,500 permanent jobs after already doling out over half its cash; and 2) the oil and gas industries, deliberately choked by Obama Administration policies, produced nearly one out of every five high-paying jobs created in the last two years. Oil and gas workers each add an average of about $200,000 in productivity to our economy. Compare that to the cost of roughly $5.5 million each for the jobs created through President Obama’s green energy loan program, and you’ll have some idea of why our economy is still in the dumps.
Trillions more in debt, and The Age of Aquarius still remains but a pipe dream. In reality our long-term outlook is much worse now than it was four years ago. Compliance costs for Federal regulations have soared and are now sucking $46 billion out of our economy each year, all of which is money that can no longer be spent by businesses on productivity increases or labor expansion. Government control of health care — President Obama’s biggest achievement — will be mind-bogglingly expensive; the newest CBO estimates are now doubling the projected 10 year cost of Obamacare to a whopping $1.76 trillion. And crippling our domestic petroleum industry has not only shut down one of our leading sources of new high-paying jobs, it has also greatly reduced our ability to offset rising gasoline prices.
But whatever you do, don’t blame the President. He and his inner circle of fluorescent intellects had only the best of intentions. In fact, they want to experiment for another four years.