11.30.2009 0

The Presidents Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Are they Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

  • On: 12/14/2009 10:16:17
  • In: Economy
  • By Dave Cribbin

    You wouldn’t think so if you read the transcript from the November 2 meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), the group responsible for presenting ideas to promote economic recovery to the President. It was a free for all of government interventionists and central planners who would have made Joe Stalin proud. Fittingly, it was held in the Roosevelt Room, perhaps in honor of that other great believer in free markets, I mean central planning, F.D.R.

    His economic wunderkinds put the children at B. Bernice Young Elementary in New Jersey to shame with their own tune whose chorus, “We need a price on carbon, mmm mmm mm, and then we need a cap “ was music to the President’s ears. This gathering of mercantile songbirds was less a forum on serious economic ideas, than it was a murder of crows squawking praise of two mutually exclusive economic propositions: increasing manufacturing jobs by making energy green and expensive. This song doesn’t work!! It’s like singing the words to “Silent Night” to the tune of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Artificially raising the price of energy causes recessions and job losses in manufacturing. It doesn’t promote economic recovery.

    The President’s solo first verse was sung while he patted himself and the others in attendance on the back, crooning, ” We have pulled the economy back from the brink.” No matter how many times I hear him sing this one, it just never gets old!

    Jeffrey Imelt of GE recited a self-serving little ditty that only through greater exports will we be prosperous once again. Evidently GE is looking for additional government help in the export markets. A loyal green believer, he then added to this musical round with a verse from that old clean energy standard, higher energy prices are an economic stimulus. This guy has pipes!

    Songbird and publisher of the Spanish -Language newspaper La Opinion, Monica Lazano treated us with a spicy Latin hit called The Lazano Multiplier. It went like this: “One taxpayer dollar spent to support small business export assistance creates $500 in taxpayer gains.” What this song lacks in economic reality it makes up for in it’s fascinating rhythm.

    John Doerr, Al Gore’s dance partner in green deception and Kleiner Perkins added his voice to the chorus: “We agree the most important thing we could do to have America lead in this industry and generate a lot of jobs fast is to put a price on carbon; a price and a cap on carbon.” It’s a beautiful little tune of government intervention sung in the key of Green. He implored our leader that by raising up the cost of all forms of carbon-based energy, “… we could create hundreds of thousands, even a million jobs in a year, in a permanent new industry — high-wage jobs, that are not going to be outsourced.” I was spellbound as I waited to hear the next verse in this lovely song of hope and change. What hi-tech cutting edge industry would blossom in this new bright green era? What a letdown; he reached for a note and fell flat with that ridiculous dirge, “Cash for Caulkers,” an earthy ballad of a million American workers caulking their way across this great land.

    Could Mark Gallogy, investment banker extraordinaire and member of the President’s transition team, rescue this tune? After a hopeful start explaining that there has been little growth in US demand for electricity, he belted out his verse. Expecting a song of setting the free markets loose, I was crushed to hear the same sad sack melody called Put a Price on Carbon.

    Paul Volker chirped in with a classic tune from years gone by, reminding Imelt and the rest that we need a more competitive business environment not just subsidies for exports. Ultimately, he too disappoints when he forgets his lines about how that can be done.

    The longer it went on, the worse this song kept getting. Richard Trumka’s version of God Bless the Recovery Act was worse than anything you could imagine. The balance of the meeting was dominated by Big Labor, whose song, We are the Champions looks good only on paper. Their real life track record in creating new jobs is outdone only by their ability to cripple every manufacturing industry they represent.

    After getting to the end of the transcript, I’m convinced that the President would be better off with an advisory team of fifth graders. Why? Because with about a half hour’s worth of economics 101, they would understand that the keys to our nation’s continued economic success are low taxes, a stable dollar, and less government interference in the private sector. A concept that has eluded the President and his advisers!

    Dave Cribbin is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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