Monday, March 9, 2009

What Palin Knows Obama Doesn't

What does Sarah Palin know about the economy that Barack Obama clearly doesn't?

Look at it this way: Franklin Roosevelt was a many of many talents (mainly oratorical), but one talent he lacked was an understanding of how business works -- and creates secure. Obama knows little about business -- how could he -- and like FDR, he has a preference for public sector jobs over the private type. [NOTE: On my other blog, I have a new piece, as of Monday afternoon, about parallels between FDR's economy-killing mistakes and Obama's. Also, if you visit this blog frequently, and many do, please scroll down in the sidebar to your right and join the "Followers" Group. Thanks.]

Gov. Palin is never going to win the Nobel Prize for Economics. However, in her efforts as Governor of Alaska and as a candidate for vice-president, she has demonstrated on understanding of how jobs get created -- and how they destroyed. Her goal has been to make Alaska more self-sufficient by attracting more non-government jobs. She understands that, without a strong private economy, states and towns can't generate enough revenue to serve the people.

In Franklin Roosevelt's first years in office, he and his associated "created" many government jobs. Yet as my previous column mentioned (scroll down to the bottom of the column below), Roosevelt did not drive down the unemployment rate. Why? Because for every public sector job created, anti-business policies destroyed a private sector position.

Beyond that, unless public dollars from "stimulus" efforts continue to be poured into jobs, they tend to disappear. Sarah Palin knows this. Barack Obama apparently doesn't. Consider the following from Amity Shlaes's The Forgotten Man, a study of the Great Depression.

"The American Federation of Labor . . . reported in late spring that 780,000 workers who had been reemployed by the [federal government's relief organization] National Recovery Administration [NRA] in the autumn had been unemployed again in the spring of 1934. William Green, the AFL's leader, began fighting [with the head of NRA] over employment numbers." And here's the kicker:

"The AFL wanted industry, not relief agencies to solve the economic problem." William Green said, "We cannot indefinitely support one-sixth of our population on money borrowed against future taxes."

Alas, William Green is long-deceased. It would be very helpful if he had some contemporary counterpart -- and there is no such person -- to speak truth to power (i.e., to Obama). He could tell him that it's immoral to borrow huge sums of money and then send the bill to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He could add that real jobs, sustainable ones, don't get created with government handouts.

I know these things. Most of you -- all of you? -- know them also. The stock markets know them. Sarah Palin is certainly well aware of them. So, why doesn't Obama get it?

The American philosopher George Santayana famously, "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." Obama has forgotten the past and, yes, we are now repeating it.

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