Who Do I Believe?

If one is to believe the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment is not a problem. I reviewed the BLS website pages to decide for myself what to believe. I couldn’t discern what is happening. There are no clear figures to tell me exactly what is going on. What I do know is what I see going on around me, many people I know cannot find a job to replace the one they lost.

Recently, I had occasion to visit the Will County Land Use Bureau to get a permit to put a new roof on a house. I asked the permit man if  he has seen an increase in permit requests. He had time to talk to me because I was his only customer. The answer is NO. When I visit a business I ask how their business is doing. Many are honest enough to tell me how far down they are from 2009. Recently, I ran into a former colleague who is still working at my former place of employment. I know their business dropped by forty percent when the recession hit. He told me they were nearly back to where they were five years ago, that is a good thing. Currently I am traveling across country. I stay in a chain of hotels that I am comfortable with, and they give a breakfast as a draw. In past years, cars, trucks, and trailers crowded the hotel parking lot and breakfast was standing room only. Last night I parked right next to the lobby door. This morning, I had a premium table right in front of the TV.  The fact remains that businesses doing poorly outnumber those that are doing well. My survey is anecdotal and not scientific, but it is a seat-of-the-pants look at the business around the country.

Today, I spent time reading blogs that I follow. One of them is “Rat Nation.” I lifted a book review from the blog which I have included below. There are no words to describe this book titled “Everything Obama Knows About Creating Jobs.”

Definition of ‘Unemployment Rate’

The percentage of the total labor force that is unemployed but actively seeking employment and willing to work.

Another Shovel Full Of Sh…ope

Pass this bill now!

When a sales rep calls on me, and pushes me to buy his product he sometimes uses a tactic of saying “this offer is only good today.” If ever there is a phrase that will end the sales call that is it. President Obama made his American Jobs Plan address before both houses of Congress on Thursday. He used a similar tactic to express the urgency of implementing his new and wonderful plan. One news clip I saw on the day after, documented the President saying, “pass this jobs bill” seventeen times in about forty minutes. My math works that out to once every two point three minutes. Frankly, I tuned him out after the first one.

Why the big sense of urgency? Joblessness no longer needs verification. The jobless rate has danced around nine percent for more than two years, and the President has promised on many occasions that jobs will be his highest priority, that is after golf, parties, travel, and fund-raising. Why did he delay introduction of this big plan until after Labor Day? The answer might be that Labor Day is the traditional opening day of political campaigns. Could it be that the real answer is that the President is now beginning a campaign to save his own job?

Here are five points covered in the American Jobs Plan.

  1. Cut Payroll taxes. This one is good. If people have more money in their pockets they will spend more. If they spend it on goods and services and not save it, the increase in sales may cause manufacturers to increase production. Increases in production may need more workers, provided the factories producing the product are in the USA, and not in China.
  2. Transportation Infrastructure. He made it sound like our Interstate system is a disaster. I can tell you that it is not. It is the best system of roads in the world. True, there are rough sections that need repair, but whole roads do not need replacement. He compared us to the Chinese who are spending money to build a complete Interstate system modeled after the USA. The roads are overkill in a country that still uses bicycles and motorcycles as its primary mode of travel. They are about fifty percent complete. The error of Obama’s logic is that only a small percentage of Chinese own cars. I question the need for a massive rebuild program for Interstates at home. What does Uncle use the gas-tax money for? Every time Congress put a new tax on gasoline it was under the guise of maintaining roads. Americans pay $68,346,000.00 Federal tax on gasoline yearly.  What does Uncle do with all that money?
  3. School Infrastructure. Obama wants to spend $25,000,000,000.00(billion) on school infrastructure. This one really gets me. I’m sure if we were to trade in the Department of Education Budget ($90,000,000,000.00 in 2007) for new school buildings we would not need additional money.  School Districts are responsible for maintaining and replacing buildings. We pay big-time taxes for schools. Most of the money goes to support union salaries and benefits (Obama wants another $35 billion to protect teachers). If School Boards were tougher, school buildings would be in good condition, and if local politicians would not crumble under pressure from parents, Teacher Unions would not be pirating State coffers for more. Most of the crummy school buildings are in Democrat controlled cities like Chicago where unions and graft comes before kids.  If memory serves me right, I heard the same rhetoric during the President’s speech to sell the first Stimulus. If he were serious then, these buildings would be completed and paid for by now. Where did the Shovel Ready Stimulus money go?
  4. Get Veterans Hired. A noble idea. Businesses need more business in order to hire more people. How do they do that? Fine, there will be pressure from the Feds to hire vets, another noble idea, but it just displaces one out of work person for another.
  5. Tax Credit for Hiring Long-Term Unemployed. Isn’t this at odds with hiring Veterans?

Nice try President Obama, but “pass this jobs bill” sounded a lot like an offer that is only good if I buy today. Hit the road buddy; sell the snake oil to your socialist friends.

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