The problem with assigning credit for jobs

I’m one of those crazy, cranky right wingers who thinks government does nothing but get in the way of job creation. That’s why when I see President Obama praising the return of 100 jobs to Milwaukee at Master Lock I get a little miffed.

We are all supposed to believe Obama’s policies over the last three years are what made that happen. (See Jim Cramer’s take here.) But I have a hard time with that.

Plus, if Obama’s touting 100 jobs, doesn’t Governor Scott Walker have a right to share in that, too, for his last year’s effort? What about Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett? County Executive Chris Abele? And my personal favorite, that resource vortex described as Milwaukee 7 that darn near takes credit every time a toilet flushes in Southeastern Wisconsin. (Some day you can ask me what I really think.)

Yes, by the time every politician gets a piece of Master Lock’s expansion it’s about a 1 politician to 5 new job ratio, I’d bet.

Conversely, for every job lost in this state, and that’s been happening, why does Walker always get blamed. Shouldn’t we also blame Obama? And depending on the location, Barrett, Abele, et. al.?

Do not succumb to the ease of political job talk. Just nod with a smile and walk away. This country is dealing with a systemic job problem based (I believe) on a fundamental shift from the industrial revolution to pretend goods – think heavily marketed – and services we don’t really need. The transition mimics the one the country took from agriculture to industry, but with a reversed outcome.

Where the heck do you think buying and selling fake needs is going to get us?

I truly believe we still haven’t seen the real effect of the new economy on our country, and that’s because we refuse to have the right discussions. Our country knows nothing of need any more. It’s all wants, all the time. And in my opinion, it’s a remarkably unsustainable economic tract.

I’m in Guatemala for the next week or so. Today I will get on a boat, cross Lake Atitlan, and visit a library in a small rural village that is the only one of its kind for miles and miles. The multi-lingual, college-degreed director makes $10,200 a year. He considers his primary mission in life not to necessarily educate the youth in that village, but to inspire those children to even hope for an education.

Contrast that with all those folks who will contact SafeLink demanding more free cell phone minutes because they didn’t know that when you talk to your boyfriend for half the afternoon your time eventually runs out.

Fine. I’m a little confused when all the worlds I know collide. All I ask from you is a little perspective. Pull back on the rhetoric long enough to be honest with yourself about your goal.

Oh, and President Obama. Welcome to Wisconsin.


  1. Randy in Richmond says:

    Rush had the reason Masterlock was doing so well in the slow economy. Lots of locks were needed for all the foreclosed and repossessed properties across the country.

  2. It’s time to write off 2012 and just focus on 2016. Obama is unbeatable. He’s over 50% and the economy is just going to get better. Heck, he’s beating Romney by 16% in Michigan and on top in Ohio even if Rob Portman is on the ticket. It’s a credit to him as a politician. He’s got mojo, and he steps it up when he needs to. Like it or not, presidents always are blamed or get credit for the then-current state of the economy. Obama’s timing was impeccable. He came to office at the best possible time and his re-election also comes at the best possible time.

  3. I’ve always been fine with that, but I’m a big fan of divided government. Set our sights on both houses of Congress and let the man put his kids through private school there. 😉

  4. Randy in Richmond says:

    I guess 2010 just didn’t happen.

  5. 2010 happened, but so did 2011 and Occupy, Randy. Remember, mid-years always see a drop-off in turnout. Obama’s crowd will show up again. Plus, he’s been able to spin the tune that the GOP overreached (we may look back at the union battle in Wisconsin as the turning point). He outmaneuvered the GOP on the debt ceiling and the payroll tax, and his budget proposal is designed to appeal to the populist elements within the general electorate.

    The only thing left for the GOP to do now is to pull out all the stops to see if they can retain the House (a big IF) and take the Senate (a bigger IF).

    Let’s face it. The vast majority of Americans are with Obama on the whole birth control flap (a part of me says the Catholic Church did it to themselves by advocating for government-run healthcare for decades). The vast majority want lower taxes for themselves and higher taxes for “the rich” to pay for it. No one running on the GOP is capable of making a moral argument for capitalism. No one. That has been their fundamental problem for decades. Instead, they have always let the opposition frame the debate.

  6. Randy in Richmond says:

    I disagree. There is no anti-Bush crowd or platform in 2012. The youth will not show up in numbers like they did in 2008. Nobody cares about the birth control issue as you call it, it’s really a First Amendment issue, and in a few weeks it will be gone. The perfect storm will not hit again for Obama–he has a history. Romney has already attacked Obama more than McCain and a throttled Palin did during their entire run. And I’m not sure how you count the Occupy thing a plus for Obama. Polls will change when the Republicans have a nominee and an announced VP candidate. A good tell will be how many Senators and Congresspeople invite Obama to stump for/with them. It won’t be easy but it can be done.

  7. The single most important selling point Obama possesses is the desire to prevent an R-R-R trifecta. I can even see the man campaigning on how a D-D-D trifecta screwed America 2008-2010.

    Hang on. It’s coming.

  8. No way Obama would say a 3-D win screwed America. America was to screwed by Bush and the Republicans for the 3-D to fix in such a short time.

  9. Randy in Richmond says:

    No Terry, it wasn’t a screwing, as you say, by the Republicans. The D’s had control of both the Senate and the House, or 2/3 of the trifecta, from 2006 on as Lieberman and Saunders caucused with the D’s.

  10. I need to amend my previous comment.

    No way Obama would say a 3-D win screwed America. He would instead say, America was to screwed by Bush and the Republicans for the 3-D to fix in such a short time.

  11. “Plus, if Obama’s touting 100 jobs, doesn’t Governor Scott Walker have a right to share in that, too, for his last year’s effort?”

    Yeah, but you have to show up at the event in order to take some credit. He chose to stay at home and nurse his tummy ache instead. Wimp.