Obama Says Judge him on his Dismal Keynesian Economic Record

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 21st, 2011

Are you Better Off than you were 4 Years Ago?

People who live in economic houses made of cards shouldn’t blow too hard.  Or boast about future successes (see Obama: Judge me on economic progress by Richard Wolf posted 8/21/2011 on USA TODAY).

“Things would have been much worse has we not made those decisions, (but) that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now. And I understand that, and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better.”

You shouldn’t boast about a successful track record before you have one.  That could come back to haunt you at the next election.  I mean, when your last three years or so in office haven’t been successful economically, why would you think year 4 would be any better?  In fact, the odds are good that someone will Ronald Reagan you if current trends continue.  When that candidate will ask the people, “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?”

Businesses never, ever hire New Employees while the Economic Outlook is so Dismal

If the judges are American businesses their verdict is already in (see Moody’s chief economist: Lawmakers need to ‘get it together’ to save economy by Meghashyam Mali posted 8/21/2011 on The Hill).

Zandi pointed to positive signs for American businesses. They are “getting their cost structures down, getting their profitability up, getting their balance sheets in order,” he said.

While businesses are still reluctant to start hiring new workers, they had little reason to layoff employees, a sign we would avoid a second recession according to Zandi.

They’re doing things now that a business does during bad economic times.  Cut costs.  Increase productivity.  Avoid new debt.  Stockpile cash.  And never, ever hire new employees while the economic outlook is so dismal.

The Nice Thing about Bonuses is that you can pay your People Less 

And the bad jobs outlook isn’t just on Main Street America.  It goes all the way up to the fat cats on Wall Street (see Layoffs sweep Wall Street, along with low morale by Lauren Tara LaCapra posted 8/21/2011 on Reuters).

The planned cuts at Bank of America have pushed the number of financial sector layoffs this year to 18,252 — 6 percent higher than in the comparable period in 2010, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm that keeps a daily tab on layoff announcements.

Some companies began the culling earlier this year — HSBC has already axed about 5,000 employees, with 25,000 more set to get pink slips by the end of 2012 — and others, such as Goldman Sachs, said that cuts will come by year’s end.

Even the Wall Street bailouts couldn’t save Wall Street.  Or all that quantitative easing.  The economy is tanking some three years later despite all of Obama‘s best efforts to stimulate a recovery.  In fact, it turns out that their best efforts are complicit in these Wall Street purges.

Changes in pay structures mandated in part by the Dodd-Frank financial reform laws have exacerbated the problem.

Banks that used to pay modest base salaries supplemented by opulent stock-and-option packages that encouraged meeting short-term performance goals now are weighting compensation toward base salary…

The shift erodes Wall Street’s former flexibility to lower end-of-year bonuses in bad times and forces a heavier reliance on layoffs.

The nice thing about bonuses is that you can pay your people less.  If you have a bad year, you don’t have to lay off your employees.  You just cut year-end bonuses.  Their base salaries are more than enough to live on.  And they are tickled pink to still have a job after a bad year.  Of course, when you remove bonuses from the picture that only leaves one way to cut costs to reflect declining business.  You have to cut people.  Which is never a good thing in a ‘relationship’ business.

It’s hard to build a level of trust and confidence in a relationship.  And the higher the dollar amounts the harder it is to build that trust and confidence.  It’s scary letting other people into your balance sheet.  Once you do you don’t want to see that person leave.  Because you don’t deal with a bank.  You deal with a person.  That person.  And when they leave there’s nothing but more uncertainty in an already uncertain economic climate.

Keynesian Economics was always about the Growth of Government

So it looks like the chances are good President Obama may get that question next year.  Because indications are that it won’t be better than when he took office in 2009 (see Mises on the Business Cycle by Dennis Sperduto posted 8/21/2011 on Ludwig von Mises Institute).

The economic and financial events of the last few weeks indicate that the economies of the United States and most of Europe remain quite weak, if not in outright recession. This situation comes after unprecedented fiscal and monetary “stimuli” by many governments that were strongly supported and recommended by the large majority of the economics profession, media commentators, and politicians. And of course, with economic conditions showing renewed weakness, the mainstream calls for additional stimuli of even larger magnitudes. The mainstream is unable or unwilling to abandon its Keynesian foundation, a system of thought that has been shown by many individuals associated with the Austrian School to be one of the great retrogressions in scientific economic thought in modern times.

Obama is a Keynesian.  His administration has adopted Keynesian policies.  And all of their Keynesian policies have failed thus far.  No matter how they try, try and try again, they will always fail, fail and fail again.  For Keynesian economics was never about economics.  Not to those in government.  For them it was always about the growth of government. 

Recessions never End because of Keynesian Stimulus, they End Despite Keynesian Stimulus

But the one flaw in their grand design is that the private sector funds everything.  Economic activity.  And government.  So the more government grows, the more wealth is transferred from the private sector to fund it.  Meaning that if the government grows the private sector must shrink.  For here it is simple zero-sum.  Which is why recessions never end because of Keynesian stimulus.  They end despite Keynesian stimulus.

So if the Obama administration moves forward with more of the same it should make the 2012 election come down to a simple question.  Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?  Even Obama is admitting that if things don’t improve over the next year he will be a one-term president.  And right now there’s nothing in the economic forecast that bodes well for a second term.  If he’s judged for his economic performance.  Which he is telling the voters to do in 2012.  As I’m sure they will be more than happy to oblige.

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