BY FRED BARNES
Does President Obama have the foggiest idea how jobs are created in America? There’s not much evidence he does, beyond lip service to the helpfulness of the private sector.
When the president begins a speech these days with praise for free markets, look out! What comes next are proposals for more government intervention in the economy and higher taxes. That’s the recipe, Obama says, to “encourage our long-term economic growth and stabilize our budget.”
He said so in his Republicans-are-Social-Darwinists speech in Washington two weeks ago to newspaper editors. Near the outset, Obama declared: “I know that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not Washington, which is why I’ve cut taxes for small-business owners 17 times over the last three years.”
Those cuts have had minimal effect, and not surprisingly. They were tiny and temporary, and few small-business owners bothered to claim them, if indeed they were eligible to do so. Meanwhile, the president has persistently sought to raise their income taxes.
In Washington, Obama didn’t suggest, much less propose, a single incentive or spur to private investment, yet he insisted “we continue to make investments in growth today.” These consist solely of government-funded jobs, such as “putting some of our construction workers back to work” and “helping states to rehire teachers.”
Obama yearns for a hefty increase in hiring by state and local governments. If hiring were “on par to past recoveries, the unemployment rate would probably be about a point lower than it is right now.” Restoring “huge cuts in state and local government” is “part of the challenge we have in terms of growth.”