While President Barack Obama has not exactly adopted the attitude of Alfred E. Newman to the ongoing job crisis, he certainly doesn't seem to get that a lot of what isn't going on—namely job creation—may be his own fault.
In his speech to Congress Thursday evening he is expected to propose an additional $300 billion in federal stimulus programs to get the economy moving—as though the previous $700 billion that went to projects that weren't quite as "shovel ready" as the president promised was a raging success. [See an opinion slide show of 10 wasteful stimulus projects.]
In fact, it was a flop—but that's not the reason the economy is in the trouble it's in. Time and again the Obama administration, its agencies, and its appointees have engaged in actions that are preventing new jobs from being created, either by preserving a sense of economic uncertainty or by wielding the heavy hand of government regulation against companies that might otherwise be inclined or are actually trying to expand their operations and hire more people.
There is perhaps no better example of this than the actions being taken by Obama's National Labor Relations Board against the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
As the New York Times put it back in April, the agency is "seeking to force Boeing to bring an airplane production line back to its unionized facilities in Washington State instead of moving the work to a nonunion plant in South Carolina."
The NLRB's effort has lots of people up in arms. Even the Times acknowledged on its news pages it was "highly unusual for the federal government to seek to reverse a corporate decision as important as the location of plant."
Indeed it is just this kind of interference in the marketplace by the Obama administration on behalf of liberal special interests like organized labor that has so many employers unwilling to invest in expansion and hire new employees. Employers simply don't know where the lines will be from day to day and do not believe they can plan for the future based on the way the winds blowing from Washington are shifting the sands. [Read Energy Intelligence: Obama's Green Jobs Agenda Already Proven to be Ineffective]
All this is reflected in a new poll conducted by Americans for Limited Government among more than 800 registered U.S. voters who said, two-to-one, that the federal government was more of a hindrance than a help to "American business owners pursuit of the American Dream."
In the same survey 71 percent of those polled said that "companies are best suited to know where then can operate factories and other production facilities the most efficiently and should be free of government interference to make these choices as the best way to grow their businesses and the economy," a power the NRLB is trying to usurp in its action against Boeing.
Irony of ironies, as the president prepares to talk to the nation about how to create more jobs there are jobs that might be created right now in South Carolina that are not being created as a direct result of what his appointees at the NLRB are doing. [Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.]
Next week, says House Speaker John Boehner, the U.S. House of Representatives will take up H.R. 2587—the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act—to, as a release put it, "prevent unelected, unaccountable NLRB bureaucrats from dictating where businesses can and cannot create jobs in America." It's a good first step but it's not enough. It's time to rein in the regulators before they kill off what's left of the U.S. economy. That's the first step down the road to creating more jobs. Another stimulus is just a misdirection that will line the pockets of the privileged few at the expense of the many.