The Corner

Obama’s Labor Day Pickle, with Relish

In today’s New York Post column, I take a look at the fix President Obama finds himself in:

It’s hard to see how the news could be any grimmer for Labor Day 2011: no net new jobs created in August, the first time since 1945 that’s happened. The unemployment rate of 9.1 percent — 16.7 percent among blacks — is unlikely to dip as low as 8 percent for at least the next year. Millions have stopped looking for work, consumer confidence is at rock bottom, and the stock market is having another nervous breakdown.

Plus, the fairy tale of government-fostered “green jobs” just blew up. The politically connected California solar-panel maker Solyndra, which got more than half a billion dollars in loan guarantees from the Obama stimulus, declared bankruptcy last week — taking with it more than 1,000 jobs and a boatload of taxpayer money.

But have no fear: President Obama on Thursday will give yet another “major speech” on the economy as he once again “pivots” to jobs

Honestly, as the Ned Sparks character says in Gold Diggers of 1933, “is everybody nutty?” The notion that a president can “create” jobs — summon them out of thin air — is patently absurd. Between 1985 and 1991 I spent more time in the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union than I care to recall, and believe me if you wanted to see jobs “created or saved,” you should have seen the Marxist idea of full employment: one person to sell you a ticket, one person to inspect the the ticket, one person to tear the ticket. As the saying went: “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

But he’s expected to give us nothing but his usual litany of failed nostrums, including more green technology, more stimulus, more infrastructure “investment,” more nickel-and-dime tax credits and extending the 2 percent “payroll tax” cut. Save your breath, Mr. President.

The fact is, this administration is as bankrupt as Solyndra. Its Keynesian bromides have failed, and it’s pretty much run through the available supply of academic eggheads that will give it the economic advice it wants to hear… On jobs, the president has pivoted more than the prima ballerina in Swan Lake, and literally has nothing to show for it even after more than two years of optimistic promises.

The Left worships a man on horseback, so don’t expect them to forsake their fantasy of a god-king who can halt the rise of the oceans and plop a chicken in every pot. King Canute didn’t believe his lackeys and lickspittles, but I’m afraid Obama does.

In the meantime, to brighten the mood on this gloomy Labor Day, the famous “Pettin’ In the Park” sequence from the Depression-era GD33. If you’ve never seen this most inventive of all Busby Berkeley dance fantasies, you’re in for a real treat. It’s a tour-de-force of no-dialogue storytelling, filled with visual rhymes, puns and double-entendres. This is pre-Code Hollywood at its best: a leering Billy Barty’s timely appearance with a can opener at the end is one of the greatest scene buttons of all time.


Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


The Latest