The Pollyanna President

Sometime today, The One will be giving his second speech (in Chattanooga) of his tenth attempt, give or take, to “pivot to the economy” in the past five years.

I’ll invite you to read this short but deep piece by Richard Epstein at the Hoover Institution, about the shallowness of Obama’s understanding – he’s more of a sloganeer, really – of how economies actually work, and how it’s manifested itself in a middle class that’s been largely bludgeoned into submission.

Read the whole thing, but here’s the conclusion:

Indeed [President Obama] constantly thinks of his greatest regulatory failures as his great successes. No other president has “saved the auto industry,” albeit by a corrupt bankruptcy process, or “taken on a broken health care system,” only to introduce a set of unworkable mandates that are already falling apart, or “investing in new technologies,” which tries to pick winners and ends up with losers like Solyndra. The great advances in energy have come from private developments, most notably fracking, and not from the vagaries of wind and solar energy, which no one has yet figured out how to store for future use when needed.

The President seems utterly incapable of seeing the downside to any of his policy choices. They are announced from on-high as all gain and no pain. In the face of stagnant growth, weak corporate earnings, and continued high unemployment, he shows not the slightest recognition that some of his programs might have gone amiss.

It is easy to see, therefore, why people have tuned out the President’s recent remarks. They have heard it all countless times before. So long as the President is trapped in his intellectual wonderland that puts redistribution first and regards deregulation and lower taxation as off limits, we as a nation will be trapped in the uneasy recovery that will continue to dog us no matter who is chosen to head the Federal Reserve.

If there were ever a time for someone to come onto the scene – or re-emerge, perhaps – with something on the order of “A Time For Choosing”, this would be it.

23 thoughts on “The Pollyanna President

  1. Obama’s understanding of the ecomony is like doctors understanding of the human body 220 years ago. “Hey I know, lets bleed President Washington until he gets better”.

  2. There is nothing in Obama’s resume that would give anyone the idea that he knew anything about economics. No schooling, no experience. He does not even understand the basics well enough to choose decent advisers.
    And yet he thinks he is an expert on the subject — and, miraculously, his prefered policies of borrowing money and shoveling it into the coffers of his constituencies just happens to be the best plan ever!
    The GOP was handled a golden opportunity last November and they messed it up by making their pitch to the chamber of commerce (who gives them money) rather than the workers (who have the numbers). It’s tough coming up with a message that will appeal both to the business owner and the employee, but it’s not impossible. Obama did it — if you are a business owner, you get government contracts. If you are a worker, you get government money.
    Hi growth is both pro-business and pro-worker, but you didn’t hear that from Romney/Ryan. Instead you heard about the 47% and how wonderful entrepeneurs and small businessmen are.

  3. This is what the Neo Keynesian Endpoint looks like. More government force to “fix” things and “stimulate demand.” Easy money. Taxes.

    Repeat until it collapses.

  4. Now wait a minute. Pollyanna had a habit of taking the lemons she got and making lemonade out of them–her worldview, though optimistic, was grounded in reality as she changed things for the better. Obama, on the other hand, is noted for proclaiming victory where none is, and then (very unlike Pollyanna) blames everyone but himself for the fact he’s covering up the whole country with the ammunition of the hog doot cannon they use to spread manure in Iowa.

    I’m thinking maybe “Dorian Gray” is a better analogy for Obama. Take advantage of anyone and anything you can, live a charmed life unrelated to any actual achievements on your part, and let the consequences fall upon someone else.

    Hopefully he takes a look at his picture before it’s too late for the rest of us.

  5. TheFedSucks-
    This twitter dumbness seems to be running wild in the arena today!
    I think it’s because there was some small-scale walk out in some big city mcdonalds yesterday. Or maybe it was last weekend?
    What ev’s.
    The first thing that would happen if fast food places doubled the wages they paid is that they would automate more & lay off workers.
    The second that would happen is they would cull marginal staff members. No more high school kids & challenged workers! If you’re paying $15/hr for unskilled labor, you can be a very picky employer.
    The third thing that would happen is that the pressure to reduce costs would be passed on to suppliers & back office people.
    George Soros doesn’t eat at Mickey D’s. George Soros’s driver doesn’t eat at Mickey D’s. Hell, the guy who sells shoes to George Soros’s driver probably doesn’t eat at Mickey D’s.
    Why do liberal morons think that transferring money from working class people to other working class people is a good idea?

  6. Carrie “Plucking people’s pocketbook” hides behind the cheap trick of $0.68 per Big Mac but that is a 20% cost increase! This is just like the “it’s only a couple cents per beer” tax increase we narrowly avoided this spring that worked out to about a 10% price increase. Is there no limit to the taxes they want to increase?

  7. Gosh! Let’s reduce taxes by $0.68 per day per taxpayer! That would add up to around a hundred million bucks a day in stimulus!
    And the best thing is that there would be no unintended consequences! Because we’re only talking about $0.68 per day per taxpayer!

  8. I knew a fellow, a carpenter, who used to live & work in Colorado. He hated having a job in Aspen because the city government there banned fast food franchises. He had to drive many miles to get a lunch that cost less then $20.
    And of course, the people that made the law banning McDonalds were good liberals, with the interests of the working man at heart.

  9. I’m all in favor of people with pro-business theories regulating business. I’m in favor of people who want a level-playing field enforcing civil rights. But I think constructive engagement is better than passive resistance for people with government jobs. I’d rather see people fail at dismantling than succeed at sabotage.

  10. I hope that you are not accusing me of being a government employee, Emery.
    Because I am not.
    My employer is a non-profit funded by a combination of private foundations and a consortium of universities.

  11. Huffpo fails:
    This is what makes debating Lefties so frustrating. If they find something, somewhere, in print — or even just hear it on the Daily Show — they simply choose to believe it. More , they become zealots.
    They never question it. They have no ability to examine their assumptions, much less understand how different kinds of arguments work. They actually seem to think that agreeing with them makes a source ‘authoritative’. At least, that’s the only reason I can think of why they reference Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Keith Olbermann.
    In the Mc D’s case, we have, from Huffpo:

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misrepresented Arnobio Morelix as a researcher for the University of Kansas. Morelix is registered as a undergraduate student at the university, according to University of Kansas School of Business Communications Director Austin Falley.

    An undergrad. OMFG.

  12. Powhatan, correct on very low skilled people being able to work. Wal-Mart hires 10’s of thousands of people who otherwise would be unable to work.
    I know a lot of people who got their first job at fast food and retail locatons. Paid little, but learned good skills there.

  13. @PM
    I was referring to Congress. Which is probably the biggest downside risk for the US economy in 2013.

  14. Last evening, Rush Limbaugh brought up some points, obvious to conservatives, but flying over the heads of Obumbler’s drooling sycophants. He correctly observed that the GOP has no power in D.C. They can’t stop Obumbler on much of anything, because of the DFL controlled senate. Yet, he continues to push the narrative, to the bobbling heads of the hand selected minions in the audiences where he speaks, that he could accomplish so much if the evil Republicans weren’t such obstructionists. Hopefully though, this might be changing. One of the most ardently liberal couples that I know, have figured this out and are no longer defending the stupidity of the Dems. I almost fell over when she told me that even if Billary runs in 2016, she won’t vote for her, admitting that she’s still pissed off at her for her “I guess that I could have stayed home and baked cookies,” comment that she made a few years ago. She claims that several of her friends either are or have been stay at home moms, feel that was a slur against them, so they feel the same way.

  15. I admit I haven’t tried this out on any obtuse minded, spread the wealth liberal, but why not just remind them that somebody already tried to have a planned economy with guaranteed wages for workers and no special privileges for rich capitalists. The Soviet Union (1919-1988). It DIDN’T WORK!

  16. golfdoc, are you saying EmeryTheSoci@listDEgenerate’s Utopia is a fallacy? He’ll be crushed!

    The second that would happen is they would cull marginal staff members. No more high school kids & challenged workers! If you’re paying $15/hr for unskilled labor, you can be a very picky employer.

    PM, the plan is to provide jobs for all the Studies majors universities are turning out.

  17. I liked the analysis of a higher wage for McDonalds’ “food” as well. OK, so we analyze the labor burden of the store alone, but not the places where the supplies come from. Yeah, that’ll do it…..

    ….and quite frankly, when you do that, it’s an extra $1.50 for a Big Mac and an extra $3 for the value meal. So Chez Mac cuts workers and bumps the price of their product up to where their customers–the very people the left claims to be trying to help–are going to have trouble affording it.

    As we said in junior high, “smooth move, Ex-lax.”

  18. Obama picked an academic ‘labor economist’ named Alan Krueger to chair his Council of Economic Advisers. Krueger’s most famous bit of scholarship was a research paper (co-authored with David Card) that showed that raising the minimum wage in NJ would not affect employment at fast food restaurants.
    This ‘research’ came under heavy criticism from real economists who noted two major flaws in Krueger’s methodology.

    1) Krueger used telephone & personal interviews with the managers of fast food franchises to question them about how their hiring practices would change if the minimum wage were increased.
    This is dirty pool. The data cannot be replicated. You can do all kinds of scholarly-looking statistical analysis with the numbers you get from the interviews, but the data your analysis is based on cannot be reproduced. It is junk economics.

    2) Krueger only looked at fast food franchises. This is cheating because fast food franchises, unlike the corner diner or the locally-run taco stand, can not cost shift onto suppliers or corporate staff.

    Liberals love to point to Krueger’s crappy research as ‘proof’ that raising the minimum wage does not decrease employment. To me it’s proof of the dismal state of ‘peer review’ in humanities journals.

    Unlike the liberals that like to cite Krueger’s research, I’ve actually read the paper ( In the conclusion Krueger comes close to admitting that his research is trash. He says he knows that the increased cost has to come from someone’s pockets, somewhere, but, gosh darn it, he just can’t figure out.
    Krueger, the guy with Obama’s ear on economics, is either an idiot or an outright fraud.

  19. Krueger, the guy with Obama’s ear on economics, is either an idiot or an outright fraud.

    How about both?

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