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Obama’s Plan Is Lousy Economics

Written on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 by


Those who are impressed by words seem to think that President Barack Obama made a great speech to Congress last week. But, when you look beyond the rhetoric, what did he say that was fundamentally different from what he has been saying and doing all along?

Are we to continue doing the same kinds of things that have failed again and again, just because Obama delivers clever words with style and energy?

Once we get past the glowing rhetoric, what is the president proposing? More spending! Only the words have changed — from “stimulus” to “jobs” and from “shovel-ready projects” to “jobs for construction workers.”

If government spending were the answer, we would by now have a booming economy with plenty of jobs, after all the record trillions of dollars that have been poured down a bottomless pit. Are we to keep on doing the same things, just because those things have been repackaged in different words?

Or just because Obama now assures us that “everything in this bill will be paid for”? This is the same man who told us that he could provide health insurance to millions more people without increasing the cost.

When it comes to specific proposals, President Obama repeats the same kinds of things that have marked his past policies — more government spending for the benefit of his political allies, the construction unions and the teachers’ unions, and “thousands of transportation projects.”

The fundamental fallacy in all of this is the notion that politicians can “grow the economy” by taking money out of the private sector and spending it wherever it is politically expedient to spend it — so long as they call spending “investment.”

Has Obama ever grown even a potted plant, much less a business, a bank, a hospital or any of the numerous other institutions whose decisions he wants to control and override? But he can talk glibly about growing the economy.

Arrogance is no substitute for experience. That is why the country is in the mess it is in now.

Obama says he wants “federal housing agencies” to “help more people refinance their mortgages.” What does that amount to in practice, except having the taxpayers be forced to bail out people who bought homes they could not afford?

No doubt that is good politics, but it is lousy economics. When people pay the price of their own mistakes, that is when there is the greatest pressure to correct those mistakes. But when taxpayers who had nothing to do with those mistakes are forced to pay the costs, that is when those and other mistakes can continue to flourish — and to mess up the economy.

Whatever his deficiencies in economics, Barack Obama is a master of politics — including the great political game of “Heads I win and tails you lose.”

Any policy that shows any sign of achieving its goals will of course be trumpeted across the land as a success. But, in the far more frequent cases where the policy fails or turns out to be counterproductive, the political response is: “Things would have been even worse without this policy.”

It’s heads I win and tails you lose.

Thus, when unemployment went up after the massive spending that was supposed to bring it down, we were told that unemployment would have been far worse if it had not been for that spending.

Are we really supposed to fall for ploys like this? The answer is clearly “yes,” as far as Obama and his allies in the media are concerned.

Our intelligence was insulted even further in President Obama’s speech to Congress, when he set up this straw man as what his critics believe — that “the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody’s money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own.”

Have you heard anybody in any part of the political spectrum advocate that? If not, then why was the President of the United States saying such things, unless he thought we were fools enough to buy it — and that the media would never call him on it?

To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is


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  • gaetano

    You have convinced me. If I could repeat what I just read ,then I would be able to defend myself against the stupid democrat idiots in my family.I am tempted to print out your story and just hand them a copy when they try to defend Obama and is croonies.
    Thank you,
    your message was right on the money.

    • Wayne937

      Everything you wrote is exactly correct. Anyone who believes this crap will believe anything. In fact I’ll sell those fools some land in the Everglades in Florida. Anyone who believes Obama is the same as the German Folks believed what Hitler was telling them. It did not work out too well, did it? I remember reading about the Gettysburg address speech that President Lincoln gave along with another man by the name of Everett Edwards. I believe Lincoln spoke for approx. 15 minutes. Everett Edward, an educator and a politician, spoke for over two hours. Which man’s speech went down in history? I think this question is evident. Look at the sustenance of a speech, not the bull crap.

      This is the highlights to that speech:

      Edward Everett (April 11, 1794 – January 15, 1865) was an American politician and educator from Massachusetts. Everett, a Whig, served as U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, Minister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State. He also taught at Harvard University and served as president of Harvard.

      Everett was one of the great American orators of the ante-bellum and Civil War era. He is often remembered today as the featured orator at the dedication ceremony of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg in 1863, where he spoke for over two hours — immediately before President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous, two-minute Gettysburg Address.

    • WayneT

      This is another good website to check out and read: It will enlighten you on the Democratic Socialist. These Socialist could not be voted in by runnin as Socialist so they make it in by running on the Democratic Party. Like I said, there are 70 Socialist in the Democratic party. I guess they ran on the Democratic Party because the Democrats thinking are more like theirs. They could have never made it in Congress if they had not ran on the Democratic Party.

    • daves

      So this author doesn’t think tax cuts will help?

    • daves

      Some predict it would put hundreds of thousands of people back to work next year, mainly because a Social Security tax cut for workers would be deepened and extended to small businesses.

      “Payroll tax cuts are very powerful,” says Allen Sinai, chief economist of Decision Economics. “They provide a boost to direct income and, in turn, spending, which is important to growth.”

      Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimates that the president’s plan would boost economic growth by 2 percentage points, add 2 million jobs and reduce unemployment by a full percentage point next year compared with existing law.

      Under his bigger tax cut, an extra $1,550 would go to taxpayers earning $50,000 a year. The Social Security tax is imposed on the first $106,800 of taxable income. That means the maximum savings would be about $3,300 for an individual and $6,600 for a couple.

      Obama would also halve Social Security taxes for businesses on the first $5 million of their payroll. The White House says 98 percent of U.S. businesses have payrolls below that threshold.

      Zandi calls this a “creative” way to help small companies, which have struggled more than larger ones to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2009. During recoveries, small businesses normally drive job creation.

      “Something like this is much needed” for an economy grappling with 9.1 percent unemployment, Zandi says. “The economy is on the edge of recession.”

      Susan Wachter, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, figures that the Social Security tax cuts alone would add 1 percentage point to economic growth and create 1 million jobs next year.

      Michael Hanson, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a former Federal Reserve economist, predicts similar benefits. He thinks the additional jobs would lower the unemployment rate by nearly half a percentage point in 2012.

      Such improvement, while just a start, could put the economy back on a “recovery path,” Hanson says.

      “You’d see a notable reduction in the likelihood that we would slip into another recession,” he says.

      The White House plan would also extend emergency unemployment benefits for another year. Economists note that unemployment checks put money in the hands of people who are most likely to spend it immediately.

      That spending tends to boost demand for goods and services and give companies more reason to hire. The forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers has estimated that an additional year of emergency unemployment benefits would support 200,000 jobs in 2012.

      The president’s plan will likely face resistance in Congress. Republicans have opposed further spending and have pushed to reduce the budget and shrink the government.

      Still, the Wharton School’s Wachter calls Obama’s plan a serious proposal that should be politically acceptable “across the board.”

      Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Wisconsin, would favor an even bigger jobs package for an economy that grew at an annual rate of just 0.7 percent in the first six months of the year and didn’t add jobs in August.

    • Gas Passer

      We need a 100 Tea Party members to nullify what the 70 members of the commie/socalist inside the dummycrat party have done to this country.

    • don

      DAVES, you are quoting economic fools! Social Security cuts only make it more difficult to fund money for those legitimately on social security, which is what obama intends to due. He wants every “group” divided and in financial trouble. It will provide not one extra job to the private sector. Obama is unsustainable. No one will move their money, until this unknown disaster is removed from office.

    • Whackajig

      “Everything you wrote is exactly correct. Anyone who believes this crap will believe anything. In fact I’ll sell those fools some land in the Everglades in Florida. ”

      Wayne, I doubt that you own any land in the Everglades. Hunting camps there go for a premium price. I live in Naples near to the park.

    • Runninbear

      This is exactly what obama thinks of us and how little he cares for the american economy or the mess he has created,and still trying to get his agenda passed by redefining the words that we all know of his code?
      I can’t fo the life of this country we have let this insane man run this country?I say insane because if you look up the definition of insanity is:Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.Albert Einstein
      Obama keeps saying and doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different out come in his speeches and stumilus?and obama is the epoitome of insanely stupid?
      I just pray and hope there is someone that still knows who he is working that still realzies that they are suppose to protect us from this kind of stupidity? wake up senators and congress?
      he ask once to call in about this question and he lost 41000 that didn’t agree with him now we the people need to call him out again and really let him know that we are tired of these lies that he had spoke of in his 2008 speech but just used some redefined words?

    • B. Hill

      Be patient with your family members. I have
      5 sisters and 3 brothers who are progressive in their imaginations.
      I am the only Conservative Christian out of 9 and it has been that way most of my life.
      Family will be watching how you when our country begins to crumble from the inside. Stay the course and continue to say and do the right things. Getting angry or impatient with your progressive family brings division and we have enough of that to go around in the United States..Ok?

    • WayneT

      B. Hill, please stand up to your principles. You will be more respected if you do. I stand up to mine. I let them know I don’t like Obama and his ideologies, period.

    • Whackajig

      I guess that I am lucky, my parents raised me to be a productive member of society. We have no parasites in our family.

    • Whackajig

      We have division because the productive people have tired of supporting the parasties.

      For unity one of two things must happen.

      1. The Republicans all become libbies and cease working

      2. The dummycraps get jobs and cease being government dependent

      Which of these do you believe will ever happen?

    • W Smith

      I urge you to read everything by Thomas Sowell. Don’t let the titles stop you. His books are both entertaining and accessible.

    • Jack

      I would like to add, Dr. Sowell’s books and papers are extremely well-written, intelligent, and easily grasped!

    • WayneT

      Gaetano, I let my family know how I feel about this man they call our president, and his 70 Democratic Socialist Zombies. Maybe you family doesn’t know it yet, but the Democratic Party are being taken over by the Socialist. The Socialist have their own website now listing their members names. This is one website that will give you the names of the Democratis Socialist in our Congress. You had better look up the word “Socialist” and get the definition. It is where our economic, production of goods are all controlled by the community and the selected leaders of that communit makes all the rules and reglation. You, as an individual will not have control of your own destiny anymore. The only difference between the Socialist and Communism is the fact that the government also control the political system as well as the production of all goods. What person in their right mind would want that? Look this stuff up, print it off and let them know what to expect when the Socialist gets full control of our manufacturing of goods.

    • am2sweet

      You are correct about the Nazis taking over the Democratic party. They started years ago when Van Jones started his trouble. IN fact before that. It’s taken them years to get into all the faucets of our lives where they could gain full control. Think about it. They are the media, they are in the senate, congress, our schools and some big business. Worse is one if our president. How much more control do they need?? Not much. They are slipping in more and more rules saying we can’t do this or that or have this or that in every bill passed. We aren’t too far from either a civil war or them taking full control of our lives.

    • Hunter Patton

      Well, a, I’m a sort of Democrat, and I don’t like O’vomit or any of the polices he’s trying to implement these days? He has lied about everything he’s ever done and spent thousands to cover up his hidden deeds? Even and ole Democrat like me can see a deciever when he opens his mouth!!!

    • Whackajig

      Which part of you is a dummycrap? It cannot be your brain, because you see that o-vomit is bad for our nation. Maybe you just have a bleeding heart for all of the poor parasites the productive people must support?

  • Mark

    Obama’s jobs plan in a nut shell …

    Cut 2,400,000 million private sector JOBS to save 200,000 Government JOBS.

  • dharper

    This same scenario is patterned after FDR’s first 6-7 years in offic which failed so miserably that his Sec. of the Treasury, Henry Morganthau finally sais to FDR: “We have spent all this money and it has gotten us nothing.”

    My question: Which one of the academic geniuses that Obama has for advisors is going to have the intestingal fortitude and stand up to this destroyer of our economy, our nation and our Constitution, and state: “We have spent all of this money and it has gotten us nothing.”

    His arrogance, and their aggogance, will not allow such action but the people will change all that at election time for 2012.

    Let’s just hope that we can withstand this continue onslaught on our personal and corporate freedoms until then.

  • Dan Clamage

    Obama’s “jobs” speech is just more of the same failed policies.

    Once again, he demanded we raise taxes on upper-middle class and upper-class folks (which will reduce risk-taking investments that create jobs), eliminate legitimate tax write-offs for corporations (which will tank the market for corporate jets and destroy jobs), and borrow more money to pay for infrastructure that benefits union workers (construction and teachers).

    Didn’t we just do this in 2009 with the ARRA? Which was a dismal failure.

    All in all, just more of the same failed policies.

    • NIKI

      DAN: You are so correct. The GOAL is to destroy the Middle Class. TAX people that
      make 200,000.00 a year but NOT millionaires.
      Tax on personal airplanes, they will just lease them. Again, the VERY rich are protected because they support the people running for office. They never say anything about taxing more on Hollywood “Stars” and music entertainers-just the middle class. Amazing how people only see “WE ARE GOING TO TAX THE RICH”. “FALSE”, the middle class is going to be taxed and the small business owner. NOT THE ELITE AS THEY CALL THEMSELVES.

  • ExArmyMP

    Obama’s “plan” was not about economics from the beginning. It is merely an election strategy (“The Republicans stopped my jobs plan, so vote for me”). He knows it is “more of the same”, which has already been proven not to work. He knows the Republicans will not accept the tax increases. When the economy continues to struggle between now and the election, Obama will blame Republican failure to pass his jobs bill as the reason, even though the truth is that it is his policies that have ruined the economy. He is hoping the voters will forget whose fault it really is.

  • Anthony Pour

    A clever English poet John Dryden must have seen this coming three hundred years BO (Before Obama) when he wrote in 1691: “Fooled with hope, men favor deceit.”


    I am so sick of Obama and all his lies and corruption!

    He wants to tax more so he can steal more and get more kick-backs from his Union buddies.


    • Bree,

      I agree with you Captain, nothing else ever from Obama but tax and spend. He may be a master of politics but a total failure of policy. Arrogance is no substitute for experience but apparently that’s what got him elected. He has got to go!

    • Runninbear

      the millions that geogre Soros pumped into his coffers and the forigen money he accepted and the lobbyist like the gays and illegalsand acorn that he has supported against our laws and our citzens?
      its time to impeach?

    • http://None Reb


      This has been the Democrats main and only plan in every one of their administrations since
      FDR’s. When will the American people ever learn?


    • Jax Cat

      The interesting part is that Americans have learned. It is the African-american, the illegal mexicans, and the unions peons that remain uneducated.

    • Jerry

      There are a lot of us that are educated on what yoymamma is about. Not all of us jax cat. This article is written by one of the most educated BLACK men you ever want to talk to. If there are one, there is maybe a million who can be or just as enlighten with his words or just as educated. Thank you~!

    • Whackajig

      Thomas Sowell is one in 18 million. If there were a sufficient number of decent blacks, the world would not view your race as sub-human.


    • Jerry

      Reb, I can agree with you 100%. I’ve often wondered why Americans elect these fools. Sometimes I think they get tired of the smooth way the Republicans can run the country with level-headed prices on food, gasoline,etc. They (voters) just can’t stand to see everything running smoothly. Now look at the Afghanistan embassy. The same thing was occuring under another dem administration. Maybe it is because of younger voters who don’t understand. But 270+ electoral votes is not all the youngsters.We need to not be fooled by a smooth-talking con-artist any more.

  • Victor Barney

    Economic’s 101 calls it a mandated marxist(anti-christ, as islam) economic collapse either by this fall’s Feast of Trumpets(war) but most likely on next year’s Feast of Trumpets because the signs also will be in the skies then! Watch! Remember, it also is written that the first, Cain, will be last, and the LAST, Able, will be FIRST to be resurrected! Again, watch!

    • Bree,

      Victor, the Feasts of Trumpets begins the 28th of this month (Sept) so as you stated it most likely will be next year,2012.

  • Mr. See

    He is a LOUSY PRESIDENT! He was turned down by E-VERIFY TODAY! It is time for ACTION NOW!!! IMPEACH oBAMA NOW!!! He is an IMPOSTER from Kenya and needs to be ARRESTED AT ONCE! We are under attack and it’s by our own IMPOSTER & CHIEF we call president!

    • Gas Passer

      …of course you know that not one news person of the mainstream media has uttered on word about Obunga not being able to qualify for a job using E-VERIFY.

      How come Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the Secret Service not doing their job of dragging Obunga out of the White House and throwing phoney azz in JAIL?

      No Department of Government is doing their jobs.

  • Skippy

    Again…….., to those of you who voted for this guy…..may God help you and your sorry azz, and in closing, allow me to use some of this guys own words…..”Hope and change”, How has it worked out for you so far, and if so how far?.

    • daves

      So far so good thanks.

    • Whackajig

      Daves……….. how much did o-vomit increase your food stamp allowance?

  • B. Hill

    Obama is positioning himself as a self declared dictator at this point. He is telling the people that he is going to impose more spending and YOU the tax payer will pay for it.
    He is Narcissist in his behavior and it is so important that WE THE PEOPLE remove him from office ASAP…IMPEACH OBAMA

  • Terry Palmer

    His mantra is to ask everyone to pay “their fair share”. Well, what about the 50% who pay nothing. They should be paying their fair share. If they did, we could solve this problem pretty quick. We would not need this stimulus. The people would be working. We also need to increase production in the Coal and Oil industry and the jobs would be created along with saving 100’s of billions of dollars going out of the country to the middle east.

    • daves

      The center found that while 47 percent paid no federal income taxes in 2009, most households did pay Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes. Only about 14 percent paid neither income or payroll taxes. Most of those people are elderly, though about 6 percent of non-elderly Americans pay neither income nor payroll taxes.

    • Byron

      It was three or four weeks ago that you spouted this exact same crap. I posted then references, web site and Government web sites that refute what you have just posted. Like most liberals you will not allow facts to influence your stupidity. I am elderly I pay taxes on my 30K pension as do ALL of my elderly circle.

    • Whackajig

      Byron—-Daves is typical of the uneducated liberal. They are stuck on stupid and no amount of facts will influence their warped thinking.

  • CJB

    Obamanomics is meant to put the nation in the $#it tubes. So the plan is obviously working.

    • Jerry

      That is exactly what he wants to do CJB. When someone is insane most of the time it is without reason. This jerk can continue on and on, so there is some hidden goal somewhere in the making. It takes conservatives like us to see it because the blind ones cannot see it!

  • CJB

    And the judge that dismissed SS fraud charges against Obama should be charged with “misprison of felony”, malfeasance and other appropriate charges. Obstructing justice comes to mind, as that would be fitting for a judge that ignores evidence of a crime.

  • D. Hanes

    He siad nothing new, nothing at all.. he just reworded and rehashed the smae old speech he has been making for 3 years. And why? Becuase he doesn’t have a damn clue what he is doing.!

  • W Smith

    Read everything by Thomas Sowell. The titles may not sound like hit movies but his style is both accessible and entertaining. Example; APPLIED ECONOMICS (Thinking beyond stage one). I cannot recommend enough Mr. Sowell.

  • Mark Black

    What bill? A bill has to be in writing.

    Where’s the Obama budget?

  • W Smith

    That would take another Harvard degree.

  • Waclaw, Jerzy

    For Obama the whole game is reelection, no matter how much damage he causes.Taking care of union goons and corporate cronies assures
    a formidable supply of cash for his campaign.
    The evil power he represents has to be dealt
    with as soon as possible.Who is going to do it ? You know it would cause rioting of the
    kool-aid drinkers.

  • Robroy

    With only 14 months to go, I would not help Obama even if what he wants was good because the best way to help the country is to get this jerk out of office. Of-course I would feel better if they just matched the sob to jail.

    • daves

      That seems to be the Republican philosophy. Screw the country to get President Obama out.

    • Whackajig

      daves has it bassackwards. We wish to remove o-vomit to free the nation from the fornicating he is putting on us.

      daves must get his news from somewhere which eliminates the facts about what obungle has done to our economy.

  • Adrian Vance

    For Mr. Obama to have Jeffery Immelt, GE CEO, sitting with Mrs. Obama during that speech was a real stick-in-the-eye. GE has shipped thousands of jobs to India and China to say nothing of the money they have spent building new plants there.

    The Two Minute Conservative at has political analysis, science and humor. Daily on Kindle.

  • Robert R

    His so-called speech was the exact same boring rhetorich that he has been trying to force down everybody’s throat. I hope nobody falls for this pathetic traitor’s excuses for the B ill not being passed as it is his own fault that his speech writers can’t come up with anything new. If nothing is done, blame the opposition. Two sided sword is all this pathetic idiot is using to try to force things down our throats. Do not let this foool think that he is going to fool us again as he didnd in ’08. HOHO Oboner is a disgrace to the office of the Presidency and should never be believed nor trusted. A vote for him is a vote for
    America’s damnation.

  • George

    The House needs to file this bill in File 13!

  • teadog

    Well if obamass wants to bail out losers that got in over their heads, criminals, unions and illegals, we should all quit paying our bills……….then who is he going to get to bail them out. And he says he is only going to raise taxes on the rich? For one thing everybody should pay the same percentage. And does anyone think obmass is only going to stop with the rich? There’s no way he can tax enough to keep his out of control spending going without raising taxes on everybody. And I just heard more people are living under the poverty line….think that’s because of obamass’s policies??

  • Kathy M

    AT this point when you tax the rich,their goes more inflation…as they own the companies that give us the jobs and merchandise. In this climate with what Obama is doing NO ONE is going to hire more people and cost themselves more…. Right now our economy is so bad that taxing the rich is like a drop of water in the bucket. Get over it Obama! Get the Hell out of our way!
    Please demand his resignation! Please vote in a TRUE conservative that is not apart of either of these parties as they are both the same party, a dog with two heads! Just like Ralph Nader told us in the 70’s…. these two parties are really ONE, they just work at it from different sides. We need TRUE conservatives in office. Vote OUT all Establishment Republicans that are really doing what Obama wants not what WE the People want. Vote in Palin, Bachmann and or Paul with other Tea Party people who are TRUE conservatives.

  • Kathy M

    I any congres member votes this bill in for more spending they should be hug out to dry and fired! We should force them to resign BEFORE the next election and get someone in their place that gives a damn.

  • Dee

    obummer must think the American people are stupid. He’s spewing the same old crap.
    Of course, the American people who did vote for him are stupid. Maybe he’s talking to them.

  • allosaur

    Lousy economics? No! Not when economics is in the worthy hands of our elite betters who know so much more than the AstroTurf who are We The People. The correct term for that kinda economics was used–and frequently–20 or so years ago. And what was it called?
    Voodoo economics. Here is how it works. Um, um, um, Barack Hussein Obama, he wants to be yo’ mama, oo ee oo ah ah, ting tang walla walla bing bang.
    Is that perfectly clear? No? Well, in that case, there is something I can elite better more equal than you tell you what to do–
    Koch brothers! Koch brothers! Bush! Bush! Bush!
    So shut up and sit down! Shut up and sit down! Yeah, you racist, you.

  • skip gainer

    The only plan obama has is to bankrupt America!

  • T Lady

    “Arrogance is no substitute for experience.”- Those words should be etched in stone. They sum up the hubris of Obama and his policies, which are retreads of Karl Marx quite nicely.

  • John

    Of course, ACORN stands to gain $15 billion in this ” jobs ” bill.Obama’s ” Jobs Bill ” = S.O.S.R. – Same Old $hit Recycled.Government does not ” create ” Jobs. Jobs are responses to needs that arise from opportunities, desires for liberty, property, and security. Government does not ” produce ” anything; it just takes, and what it takes, it takes from the people( especially those who WORK for a living). The more you tax something, the less you get from it. The Federal Government, by excessive borrowing,taxing,spending, and regulating is doing the OPPOSITE of what should be done to help our economy to grow and thrive. The Government needs to get out of the way of the private sector, the REAL PROVIDER FOR MEANINGFUL JOBS !