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The Great Recession, which officially started in December 2007, officially ended in June 2009, making it the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The good news is, the Great Recession ended three years ago. The bad news is, unemployment has topped 8% for the entire three year period since the recession's end, and unemployment nudged up again to 8.2% with May's weak job creation numbers. The typical post-recession economic recovery has not happened this time around. Instead, we have returned to a sort of weak normalcy. As Speaker Of The House, John Boehner said, "high unemployment and a weak economy [are] the sad new normal for families and small businesses." Boehner blames it on Obama's "failed policies", but regardless of who we blame, the sad new normal is hard to deny. The word "malaise" keeps creeping back into my mind. I haven't used that word much since Jimmy Carter was President.
As usual, May's job numbers were immediately politicized by the candidates. Romney called the jobs report "devastating" and used it to bash President Obama's economic policies. Obama sang his usual song, talking about economic "headwinds" for about the 40th month in a row, and said, "my message to Congress is now is not time to play politics". The only time Obama thinks it's not time to play politics is when the politics of a situation won't be in Obama's favor, or when Obama pouts about not getting his way (one of Obama's blame-shifting techniques). This time, he wants to shift the blame for the bad job numbers to Congress for not passing every single legislative item Obama dreams up five minutes after he announces them. In May, Obama realeased a short "to-do" list of small job creation ideas, and he wants to use those to shift the blame for high unemployment to Republicans (but he doesn't want to play politics !!!). Meanwhile, Obama doesn't mention the 30 jobs-related bills the Republicans have passed that are languishing in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Obama also doesn't mention that last month Congress DID pass a jobs bill, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.
Here are Obama's big "to-do" list ideas:
The modest list calls on Congress to pass tax incentives that promote in-sourcing, to pass tax credits for small businesses that hire more workers at higher wages, and to extend tax credits for clean-energy companies. It also calls for the creation of a veterans’ jobs corps and for action that would make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages.
And if we do all that, maybe we can get unemployment back down to 8.1%. If we're lucky. Extremely lucky.
I don't know what Obama's thinking, but here's what I'd do to create jobs:
1) Reduce the federal tax rate for all businesses to 10%. The object is to create decent-paying jobs for people, not to send money to Washington D.C. for the politicians to waste. The more money you take from businesses via taxation, the less they have to create jobs.
2) Create a task force to work with state and local governments to reduce idiotic job-killing regulations that inhibit small-business job creation (such as the series of idiotic bans Bloomberg is imposing). There are so many regulations today that it's almost impossible for a business to comply with them all, and the cost of compliance is too high. We want to encourage small businesses, not treat them like the enemy.
3) Repeal and replace ObamaCare with something that doesn't further burden the business sector. Rising health care costs are one of the biggest hurdles to new job creation.
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