Ed Driscoll

Good News: Administration Now Completely Winging It On Job Creation

Remember when automation, such as ATMs, were bad? Hey, that was last week. This week? Automation’s pretty darn cool. I mean, somebody’s got to build those ATMs and other machines, right?

As Katie Pavlich wrote yesterday at Townhall,“You just can’t make this stuff up:”

A short week after President Obama blamed high unemployment on ATM’s and airport kiosks, he has launched a $500 million project to “spur high-tech manufacturing.”

On Friday in Pittsburgh, Obama is to call for a joint effort by industry, universities and the federal government to help reposition the United States as a leader in cutting-edge manufacturing, including biotechnology, robotics and nanotechnology _ the development of new materials at the molecular level.

The initiative represents yet another effort by Obama to promote job-creation in the midst of an economic slowdown that has reduced hiring and weakened his job approval standing with the public. The president has tried to elevate his profile on the economy with weekly job-related trips to states that are key to his re-election.

Seriously. First off, people in Pennsylvania are sick of President Obama’s stump speeches as his approval rating sits at 42 percent. Second, President Obama just claimed that technology kills jobs. A week ago Obama he said technology kills jobs, today he will say technology creates jobs. Which one is it Mr. President?

By the way, if Obama thinks — or thought — or still thinks — who can say? — that ATMs cost the banking industry jobs, just imagine how many jobs are lost crippling the industry itself, Mona Charen writes at Real Clear Politics:

More recently we’ve witnessed the creation of new historical narrative about the financial crisis of 2008. The perceived history, eagerly peddled by liberals and Democrats, is that the crash of 2008 was the result of Wall Street greed. It was unregulated capitalism that brought us to the brink of financial meltdown, the Democrats insisted. And they codified their manufactured history in a law, the Dodd-Frank Act, that completely avoided the true problem.

It’s both surprising and gratifying, therefore, to report that a great revisionist history has just been published by none other than a New York Times reporter, Gretchen Morgenson, and a financial analyst, Joshua Rosner.

In “Reckless Endangerment,” Morgenson and Rosner offer considerable censure for reckless bankers, lax rating agencies, captured regulators and unscrupulous businessmen. But the greatest responsibility for the collapse of the housing market and the near “Armageddon” of the American economy belongs to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to the politicians who created and protected them. With a couple of prominent exceptions, the politicians were Democrats claiming to do good for the poor. Along the way, they enriched themselves and their friends, stuffed their campaign coffers, and resisted all attempts to enforce market discipline. When the inevitable collapse arrived, the entire economy suffered, but no one more than the poor.

Jim Johnson, adviser to Walter Mondale and John Kerry, amassed a personal fortune estimated at $100 million during his nine years as CEO of Fannie Mae. “Under Johnson,” Morgenson and Rosner write, “Fannie Mae led the way in encouraging loose lending practices among the banks whose loans the company bought. A Pied Piper of the financial sector, Johnson led both the private and public sectors down a path that led directly to the credit crisis of 2008.”

Fannie Mae lied about its profits, intimidated adversaries, bought off members of Congress with lavish contributions, hired (and thereby co-opted) academics, purchased political ads (through its foundation) and stacked congressional hearings with friendly bankers, community activists and advocacy groups (including ACORN). Fannie Mae also hired the friends and relations of key members of Congress (including Rep. Barney Frank’s partner).

“Reckless Endangerment” includes the Clinton administration’s contribution to the home-ownership catastrophe. Clinton had claimed that dramatically increasing homeownership would boost the economy, instead “in just a few short years, all of the venerable rules governing the relationship between borrower and lender went out the window, starting with … the requirement that a borrower put down a substantial amount of cash in a property, verify his income, and demonstrate an ability to service his debts.”

“Reckless Endangerment” utterly deflates the perceived history of the 2008 crash. Yes, there was greed — when is there not? But it was government distortions of markets — not “unregulated capitalism” — that led the economy to disaster.

Not that this message will ever penetrate the ozone layer of the administration, of course.

Obligatory Allahpundit-esque exit question: “Should we now be discussing the ‘Obama depression?'”

Related: “All of this was unexpected.”