One of the most illustrative stories of economic ignorance concerns one of the kings of France (I forget which Louis), who, learning of dire conditions in the country, fired a gardener at Versailles. It was a misguided effort to help the nation save money. (And you wonder why there was a revolution?)
Fortunately, Scott Mayer, who writes for the brilliant American Thinker site, and his wife, are smarter than Louis the Whatever:
With the downturn (think death-spiral) of the economy in California, my wife and I have had to make many sacrifices in order to keep our own household on a sustainable path. While brainstorming ways to save money, the idea of letting our gardener go and doing the yard maintenance work ourselves has come up several times. But we always come back to the idea that we need to resist succumbing to this recession and do our part in helping to keep what's left of this fragile economy alive. Fortunately for him, and us, we've been able to continue to utilize his services — for now.
But the Mayers are aware of a threat to their continued ability to hire their gardening service:
How many other s-corp "rich" individuals, just like us, are out there who would be unable to maintain a service such as this if more of our money ended up being extracted through higher tax rates?
If our taxes were to increase by even a small amount (like, say, $80 per month), our gardener would unfortunately end up being one of the first casualties (although I might have to reconsider if he started whistling Disney tunes like the Solyndra robots).
Although the president says he only wants to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires," you can bet your bottom dollar we're all going to be "asked" to contribute more if the current level of spending continues. Given that the government has given the green light to similar projects since the Solyndra debacle, reduced spending is unlikely with this administration in the White House.
So Mr. Mayer does the math:
President Obama also said: "This is not class warfare; it is math." Okay, let's do some simple math. Let's look at what could have been done with the $535 million in taxpayer dollars that Obama "invested" in just that one Solyndra deal alone. If you were to take the salary of one gardener who has 45 clients at $80 each per month, his earnings would add up to 3,600 per month, or $43,200 per year. This means that if the $535 million that was carelessly wasted on the Solyndra deal had been left in the hands of the taxpayers, it theoretically could have been used to pay the annual salary of about 12,384 gardeners. How does that stack up to the 1,100 who just lost their jobs at the luxurious Solyndra plants that built solar panels for twice the amount that they were able to sell them for?
It looks more like we're swapping temporary "green jobs" for real "green jobs" and at an exchange rate that is much, much less than desirable. And that is only the tip of the iceberg when you look into the green energy dealings of the Obama administration. The administration has just approved another $5 billion (or about 115,740 gardeners for reference) in loan guarantees for these types of programs, including one to an enterprise that Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law is tied to (can you spell c-r-o-n-y?). And as I write, there is new news that the $500-million green jobs training program came up short on its goals.