I heard a stunning statistic this weekend on two Sunday morning news shows. Embedded in the Stimulus bill of over $800 billion was $36 billion dedicated to green energy projects. That $36 billion created about 4,550 jobs at a cost of approximately $10 million per job. Nice work.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal stating (I paraphrase) that solar and wind energy is unlikely to supply a significant percentage of our energy requirements and cannot stand without government subsidy.
As we watch the spectacle in Washington, one thing becomes clear. Obama does not understand or believe the private sector creates jobs. His offerings consist almost exclusively of government spending. The money sent to the states to employ 'teachers, policeman and firemen' are certainly jobs; public sector jobs. Public sector jobs are paid by the taxpayers. Their salaries, benefits and retirement are paid by us. The argument is not against government jobs, but for the private sector as the real means of job creation, sustainable growth in employment and wealth creation.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama used the often-quoted Einstein refrain: 'The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.' The first stimulus didn't work. He wants to do it again. Is Einstein only right if someone else does it?
I talk to job creators every day; executives of companies struggling to survive in the worst economy since the Great Depression. They cite uncertainty, burdensome regulations and low demand as their problems. They have no obligation to create jobs. Their responsibility is to survive and prosper for their owners, shareholders and employees and communities.
Obama think banks should make loans easier to get. The federal government did that already: It's called the Community Reinvestment Act, and played a significant role in the housing collapse.
Obama and the modern Democratic Party believe government is the answer. Spending time at the Post Office or DMV is enlightening. The Oregon DMV still fills out forms by hand. Getting a new, out-of-state car licensed is an eye-opening, time-consuming spectacle of organizational incompetence. But wait, there's more. I am forced by FEMA to purchase flood insurance, which my mortgage holder says I don't need. I cannot instruct my insurance company to cancel the policy. FEMA won't let them. Try calling FEMA. I can't get through. What does more governmental control mean for our healthcare system? We will soon find out.
The underlying problem with public sector governance and competence is accountability. There isn't any. It is impossible to fire a government worker. If there is no consequence to your actions, or your behavior as an organization, what can be expected of you?
The Tea Party is demonized because they want less government, a strong military, a vibrant private sector with minimal government interference and government accountability. If you want more government, a weak military, less government accountability and more government intrusion in your life, vote for Obama.
Douglas Reiter is a Lake Oswego resident and president of the Lake Oswego-based Douglas Reiter Company, Inc.