THE $450 BILLION JOBS BILL: OBAMA’S MAGINOT LINE
By Attorney Jonathan Emord
September 12, 2011
At the lowest point of his presidency, with the economy in shambles (14 million out of work, unemployment at 9.1 percent, and no end to recession in sight), the President presented his much touted speech on jobs. The speech is remarkable in what the President did not offer. It invites voters, on reflection, to reaffirm that Obama is politically and ideologically incapable of saving the nation from economic ruin. His $450 billion jobs bill is premised on the same flawed rationale of every other stimulus bill: that the government, rather than the private sector, can direct recovery by choosing winners, favoring specific sectors of the economy with more money. While it cuts taxes for small business, it raises taxes for the wealthy in the same old redistributionist see-saw that has robbed the nation of the wealth accumulation necessary for economic recovery.
The President proceeds like French politicians in the 1930s who when confronted with the Nazi menace and a direct threat to the survival of France chose to invest in a massive government project, erection and maintenance of the Maginot Line, a barrier of concrete and steel that French politicians touted as impenetrable and that cost the French people enormously. The misdirected massive government spending program proved wholly ineffectual, as the Nazis flanked the line and invaded France virtually unobstructed.
Obama’s speech rests on the same kind of arrogant and paternalistic assumptions, that if only the government adopts yet another big spending program, atop the billions already spent without significant result, it will save the nation from ruin. Obama’s plan would provide billions for teachers, contractors who build roads and bridges, and police, and it would extend unemployment benefits. All of that provides temporary aid to those employed by the government or on welfare but nothing to aid the struggling private sector. His proposal would cut social security payroll taxes for small businesses and workers, but it would raise taxes on larger businesses and on higher income earners. It would make modest reforms in Medicare and Social Security, but nothing capable of stemming the massive debts incurred by those programs.