September 25, 2011

Operational Success

Over the last two years and three months I have made frequent mention of something I call  OPERATION GET A JOB. It has been an all consuming effort to find a new job to replace the one I lost when BIC USA decided they didn't want half of the design department. As a parallel to that operation there was also the ongoing OPERATION PAY THE BILLS.

PTB involved finding freelance work that ranged form a few clients of my own to some dreadfully boring assignments through a temp agency. But it has been successful and the bills have been paid. Operation PTB never actually goes away, it just gets a lot easier when Operation GAJ is not in effect.

I'm happy to say that after a long effort OPERATION GAJ has met with success. I'm not sharing any details because that would violate one of the few rules for this site that I haven't already violated. But I do have a real job. An actual job. With an actual salary and actual benefits.

My friend Jack has advised me to gut busy blogging before I dive into the new job and it takes up all my time. The thing is, I start the new job tomorrow, so sorry, Jack, this might be it!!!

Actually, I'm hoping now that GAJ has concluded and PTB becomes more of a background task OPERATION WRITE THE BLOG might be able to be more of a priority!

But time might be running out. Some time before November, Greece is probably going to default on it's sovereign debt. What European banks this doesn't take down will be kept afloat only with the infusion of huge amounts of capital from governments who don't really have it to infuse. This will put the house of cards that is the EuroZone on the edge. They will have done and spent everything they possibly can to prop up the system. One hiccup and it will all come crashing down because there is nothing else they can do.

We certainly don't have the resources to bail them out. Because when the EuroZone fails we're going to have problems of our own that we can't afford to fix. 

I don't have a lot of hope that this can be contained as an intellectual financial crisis solved simply by the same class of banking and finance wizards who got us into this mess. Given the recent riots in Greece, England and France that ship has already sailed. I think reality is about to bitchslap the liberal socialist agenda that has driven sovereign debt to record levels around the world. Those who believe they are entitled to wealth that others produced will not give up their loot without fighting back. But I'll put my my money on reality vs left wing fantasy every time.

May you live in interesting times, indeed.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:24 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

September 18, 2011

Slight of Shorthand

I read a post the other day, and I can't quite remember where it was or who wrote it, but it contained an aside that stuck with me because I think it was wrong and perhaps dangerously so. The post itself was part of the million words written debating who won the most recent GOP presidential candidate's debate. This post focused specifically on the exchanges between Governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney over who as governor of their respective states created the most jobs.

The aside was the writer's attempt to deflect the expected criticism that governments do not create jobs, businesses create jobs. That government can create an environment in which it is easier for business to create jobs or it can create and environment in which it is harder for business to create jobs. The author asserted a politician or pundit claiming that government created jobs was just using a shorthand way of saying that government put in place a tax and regulatory structure that encouraged business to grow, invest and hire. It may have started out that way, and to some extent it may be true for those in the world of politics and those who snipe around its edges, but I think for many people the meaning has changed. It is no longer seen as a shorthand and the words have come to mean exactly what they say.

Having ceased to be a shorthand for most of the population they have become part of the growing public acceptance of the idea of the government running or managing the economy. The invisible hand of the market is being replaced by the very visible hand of government and most people don't seem to notice let alone mind. The President recently spoke before a joint session of Congress to introduce and call (repeatedly) for the passage of a jobs bill. He is campaigning around the country touting how his bill will create jobs as soon as Congress passes it. With the corollary, never left unspoken, that if there are no jobs it's because the Congress, i.e. the GOP controlled House, failed to pass his job creating bill.

There are politically involved (some would say obsessed) people who see the words "this bill creates jobs" and want to see it as shorthand for this bill creates a tax and regulatory environment in which job creation is possible. But I have a problem with that. A big problem. The underlying concept of that "tax and regulatory environment in which job creation is possible" is freedom. If business is free to grow and invest and take risks they will do so and if they are successful, they will hire. If it takes a special piece of legislation to create that freedom to operate a business, what does that say about where we are now?

Another problem I have with this slight of shorthand is not necessarily with the millions of people who take it literally and expect the government to do something to create jobs, but with one person who seems to believe it wholeheartedly. The President of the United States.

His "jobs bill" is not about changing the tax and regulatory environment to create more freedom for business to operate and grow. His bill is about the government "investing" to create jobs. His bill is about spending half a trillion dollars to stimulate demand for workers. Spend a hundred billion or so on infrastructure upgrades and school renovations and it will put construction workers to work - for a while. Indeed these will be government created jobs because government is paying for them. But they will last as long as the projects last. When the roads and bridges are built and the school projects complete those construction workers who enjoyed their government funded paychecks will be unemployed again.

And when the second pile of stimulus dollars has been spent unless there has been some significant change we will find ourselves in the same tax and regulatory morass that lead to the unemployment problem in the first place. Business will still be faced with the same unknown future regulatory burdens of ObamaCare. Energy production will still be under constant attack from the regulatory overreach of the EPA. Boeing will still be fighting the government for the freedom to open a manufacturing plant  where it feels makes the most business sense. Gibson won't have it's legally imported wood to make guitars. 

Yet again the left's only solution to problems created by too much unaccountable, government is more government. Yet again the right's solution seems to be more government, but slightly less more than the left wants.

And We the People? Many of them are sitting back waiting for the government to do something to fix things.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:06 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

September 03, 2011

Boehner Blows it Again: UPDATED For the Congressional Holiday

The current Speaker of the House, John Boehner, seems to be fundamentally ill equipped for the game of political hardball. (Bear with me as I flog this metaphor to death)

When The One asked to be invited to speak to a joint session of congress on a schedule that precisely matched a long scheduled GOP presidential candidate debate, he was playing political hardball. But like every time The One has thrown out the first pitch it was mom jeans lame. What he offered to Boehner was the equivalent of batting practice fastball.

Boehner, as is his usual pattern, hit a single to left field. What he should have done was driven it deep into the centerfield bleachers.

Boehner rightly refused The One the Wednesday invite and instead offered him the the next night. It is telling that the White House is taking pains to make sure the speech does not conflict with the NFL season opener. Clearly they understand that in a ratings battle between The One giving another speech and a football game, The One loses. 

So Boehner did manage to exact a toll on the White House, and given their reaction (actually multiple reactions until they got their story straight which is a pattern of this administration) you could say that Boehner made it to second when the throw from left field missed the cut-off man.

Boehner's play was more bush-league softball than good old fashioned political hardball.

What he should have done is offered The One the opportunity to speak before Congress on Tuesday. After all if the speech is so important that it must be given before Congress, wouldn't it be better to hear what The One has to say sooner rather than later? We've already waited while the President golfed on Martha's Vineyard. This is important stuff. Why should we wait any longer?

More than worrying about being proven less important to the American people than a football game, this would have put The One and his proposals on the record before the GOP debate. This would have allowed candidates to offer their take on the ideas the President put forth and to offer their alternatives. This would have given GOP voters a chance to compare candidates to the President on the biggest domestic issue we face.

It would have given the candidates an opportunity to shred the vacuous platitudes and recycled failed Keynesian socialist ideas The One is going to offer - because that is all he knows. For The One the only solution to the problems created by too much government, is more government.

Boehner blew it. He should be replaced by someone with the courage to swing for the fence once and a while.

UPDATE: With apologies to the Speaker. Congress is not in session on Tuesday as they don't return from their recess until Wednesday evening. Given that their Labor Day weekend is longer than our Labor Day weekend the Speaker did the best he could short of just saying no.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:30 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

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