Would You Hire after Listening to the SOTU?

by Victor Davis Hanson

One of the stranger things in Obama’s State of the Union address was not just his brag of producing more private gas and oil, which as occurred despite rather than because of his federal policies, but his bizarre ideas about restoring manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Our only chance to lure high-paying jobs back to the U.S. is to convince employers that we are more competitive than the alternative. That would require inter alia cheaper transportation fuel prices and electricity costs for high-energy-consuming industries brought about by huge new finds of natural gas and oil, less government interference at a time when the president has slapped a trillion-dollar-plus mandate of a federal takeover of health care on employers, a sense of fair play that ensures government bodies such as the NLRB and EPA fairly adjudicate disputes between workers and employers, predictable tax policy, and some sort of praise for those who do well and hire lots of people.

Instead, we get recycled and failed Gore-greenism, talk of wasting private-sector generated profits in gas and oil on federalized wind and solar, more second-round talk of raising revenues to pay for federal spending, more snide boilerplate about the well-connected and Warren Buffett’s secretary, “recess” appointments of anti-business bureaucrats and the strange career (and stranger departure) of the e-mailing Lisa Jackson at EPA, and grand talk of a more activist federal government.

I fear that any employer listening to that speech would probably go on hoarding cash until the storm passes, which may explain why unemployment has stayed at or above 7.8 percent in every month of this presidency, as we talk grandly of summers of recovery and the rubble that has passed.

In a reductionist sense, if the president would just take his first draft of these speeches, and then pencil in the opposite of each talking point, the economy might take off. Or better yet, can the president just explain to the American people why employment and GDP figures after four years of nearly $5 trillion “stimulus” funded by borrowing are so anemic — without blaming someone else?

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