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Clueless About Job Creation

Obama’s invincible economic ignorance.

Apr 23, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 30 • By FRED BARNES
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One response to the Buffett Rule has been to dismiss it as a campaign gimmick. Yes, it is that, but it’s much more. Obama, Biden, and their allies believe raising taxes will boost the economy by paying for increased government spending. They believe the investor class of millionaires and billionaires will invest as robustly as ever, producing growth and jobs, even if subjected to higher income tax rates and a doubled rate on capital gains. They’re wrong on both counts.

Obama has taken recently to quoting Ronald Reagan, while ignoring Reagan’s formula for recovering from the deep recession in 1981 and 1982. It consisted of tax and spending cuts, the exact opposite of Obama’s policy. By mid-1984, Reagan noted happily in a letter that job growth had exceeded 300,000 a month for more than a year. The Obama economy, which the president says is “gaining speed” and “getting strong,” hasn’t come close to that.

Obama has his excuses. State and local governments are supposedly at fault for not hiring more. And if the construction industry were functioning normally, that would shave another percentage point off the jobless rate, he claims. In March, the rate of unemployment was 8.2 percent. But by Obama’s figuring, it should be 6.2 percent.

The president doesn’t realize how lucky he is. There have been twice as many dropouts from the economy as jobs added since he became president. Were the dropouts counted as unemployed, the jobless rate would be well above 11 percent. And Obama would be hard put to come up with an excuse.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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