Charlie Cook has an interesting look at the Obama Administration’s disastrous first year. The main point is that it was a huge mistake to spend so much time on things like health care and cap-and-trade, instead of on the economy. He writes:
The latest unemployment and housing numbers underscore the folly of their decision to pay so much attention to health care and climate change instead of focusing on the economy “like a laser beam,” as President Clinton pledged to do during his 1992 campaign. Although no one can fairly accuse Obama and his party’s leaders of ignoring the economy, they certainly haven’t focused on it like a laser beam.
This is a little too charitable a description of the Obama administration’s approach during year one. Sure, they passed a stimulus bill that they claimed was about creating job. But that “stimulus” was immediately recognized as deeply flawed, filled with pork-barrel spending, and ill-timed, with most of the money scheduled for use years, not months, after passage.
Moreover, the policies that the Cook notes have distracted the Administration from the more important jobs issue aren’t just jobs neutral, they are job killers. The healthcare bill raises the cost of employment, creates new taxes, and sucks hundreds of billions of dollars out of the private economy. Cap-and-trade is even more explicitly job crushing: the proposal, which is essentially a tax on carbon, would raise the cost of just about every product produced or consumed in America, leaving the people with less money to spend and businesses with less money to hire workers.
The Administration hasn’t just failed to talk about jobs, hold conferences to consider jobs, or even advance policies (like tax cuts) that would encourage job creation. They have advanced policies that are bound to exacerbate our jobs crisis. And the American people know this, which is the real reason that support for the Administration and it’s policies have been in free fall.