The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


On the eve of President Obama’s “jobs speech”, Republicans in Congress and virtually all of the GOP presidential contenders argue that in order to create jobs in meaningful numbers, the federal government should get out the way of the private sector. This can be accomplished by reducing onerous regulations, restructuring the tax code to make it more balanced and more inclusive (almost half of our citizens pay no income tax at all and loopholes allow some major corporations to do the same), and reducing the uncertainty associated with an administration that regularly attacks “big corporations” and the “rich.”

Tomorrow, I suspect that the President will imply that he’s in favor of some of those things, but his administration's recent actions belie any such implication.

A few months ago, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), headed by hand-picked Obama appointees, attempted to block new work at a Boeing factory in South Carolina. Although the NLRB claims their action was procedural, it appears that the fact that Boeing moved some of its work on the new 787 aircraft to a right-to-work (non-Union) state had a lot more to do with it. If the administration succeeds (the case is in the courts), 1,000 jobs will be lost in South Carolina.

Last month, the Obama Justice Department raided Gibson Guitars and confiscated rosewood from India because it wasn’t finished by Indian workers in India. It’s worth noting that over the past year, Gibson has created 500 new jobs in both Memphis and Nashville and that some of those jobs undoubted were connected to the finishing of the rosewood. It’s also worth noting that Gibson’s CEO is a Republican fund-raiser and that Gibson is a non-union shop. It’s also worth mentioning that many other guitar companies use similar wood, but they have not been raided—their CEOs are Democrats and they are union shops.

The President loves to use words in august settings, and his upcoming speech before a joint session of Congress projects the right atmospherics. But as he reads his teleprompter, remember that it's actions that matter. And if Boeing and Gibson are any indication, this administration’s actions relative to jobs are so incompetent, so partisan, and so misdirected that it will be hard to take the words seriously.