It's the Economy, Genius

Friday, October 08, 2010 - 04:34 PM

Karol Markowicz

Living in Manhattan, I get funny looks when I say I would prefer the president of the United States not be an intellectual. New Yorkers think we're smarter than everyone else, and we'd like our president to be smarter than everyone else, too. I wouldn't. I don't care which books he's read or which Ivy he attended. It doesn't matter whether he got a perfect score on his SAT, if he went to law school, or whether our European friends find him enchantingly brilliant. In fact, the less Europeans like him, the better.

Intellectualism in public office gets us phrases like "jobs created or saved" as a benchmark for measuring economic success. Any uneducated person with a little bit of street smarts knows there's no way to measure that we spent X amount of money to "save" Y amount of jobs. It simply makes no sense. Furthermore, anyone who has even the slightest interaction with the government knows that it doesn't "create" anything, particularly jobs. Getting in the way of job creation — that the government knows how to do. 

The phrasing was mocked, and the Obama administration stopped using it, but the problem isn't really in the phrasing — it's in the reality that we are spending stimulus money on nothing. It's hard to keep up with just how much we've spent on this unstimulating "stimulus" boondoggle. And don't worry, liberals: I blame George W. Bush just as much as I blame Barack Obama. Both tried to save their own political skin by wasting our hard-earned tax dollars. And while only one is considered "smart" by people who don't matter, they both took the intellectual approach to the economy instead of the gut one. In the article linked above, just one of the stimulus bills spent $787 billion to "create or save" 640,329 jobs. I'm bad at math, but that's over a million dollars a job. To put it in a way that will actually matter to New Yorkers: Our income fell for the first time in 70 Years. And that's with the government "helping."

There's a reality show on TV right now about scrap metal workers in Brooklyn. I'm awfully fond of the show, and not just because it takes place in and around my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, or because the guys on the show are so authentic and endearing. I really appreciate the work ethic portrayed on the show and the simplicity of their economics. These guys didn't go to Harvard, but they know they have to take in more money each day than they spend. It's just that simple. They know that a successful day ends with money in their pockets, as small an amount as that may be. President Obama and the rest of our freewheeling, free-spending politicians should watch the show. It'll simplify for those "smart" people what Americans need from them. It doesn't involve complicated language, or showy ads. It's reigning in spending, quitting the pretense that the government can be involved in job creation, and letting the American people keep more of the money we make. It isn't rocket science; let's stop pretending that it is.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at and about life in the city with her husband and baby at http://www.212baby.comShe can be followed on twitter:


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Comments [5]

Karol from NYC

Maria, I don't know what you're trying to say. Yes, I believe America is the shining city on a hill, beckoning to immigrants like me to come live there and enjoy its freedom and riches. Who needs an intellectual to be in charge? We need do-ers, not community organizing thinkers.

Oct. 24 2010 04:35 PM

Karol, this is one of the worst arguments I've ever read. I am just not quite sure if you are trying to stir controversy or if you really believe and think that America will ever be that "shinning city on a hill" if its leaders, who are supposed to represent American society, are an uneducated and non-intellectual bunch. It seems that your argument has a tremendous lack of vision and understanding of the American spirit and, instead, is cunningly catering to a false populism to rile up the masses.

Oct. 12 2010 09:27 AM
William Bednarz from Jersey City New Jersey

. . . Might I be so bold as to ask who is censoring my comments ?.?.?

Oct. 10 2010 04:52 PM
Karol from Even more evil and liberal NYC

Actually, I prefer money spent on food stamps than I do on construction projects designed to stimulate the economy. They never run on budget or on time because, hey, it's government money, no one gets hurt if more gets spent.

The point is, at a million dollars a job, the stimulus was a total bust. We would have been better off handing every unemployed person a year's salary until things improve.

Truth is, I don't believe any president has any real effect on the current economy (while they can and do affect the economy of the future). It's all political, not sensible, when they try to artificially stimulate the economy.

Oct. 09 2010 08:25 PM
brian from Evil, liberal Chicago

No, you're perfect at math. What you're bad at is articulating a point.

Yes, X dollars were spent, and and Y jobs were created. Calling it "$ X/Y per job" completely ignores several important points.

First, the projects, in most cases, needed to be done. I'll grant you that not every project was as valuable as the next, but hey, that's representative government for ya'.

Second, these projects are the type that are going to be done by tax dollars, like it or not. We're not going to get anywhere waiting for Boeing, General Dynamics or GE to write a big ol' check to cover the cost of building that new highway, rehabbing that subway line, or fixing that bridge. How exactly do you think these projects get funded?

In times of recession, the likes of which people our generation have never seen (remember when the financial system was COMPLETELY shut down?), no one was coming forward with any kind of investment from the private sector to create ANY jobs.

Times like that (these?), called for a catalyst which would provide a confidence to at least part of the economy. It wasn't just construction jobs, the stimulus funds have gone to food stamps (oh, the horrors...).

Admittedly, not every one of these projects has achieved the same results, any anyone with the time and inclination could look through the stimulus line by line and find a project, or a hundred of them that are specious or don't fit their particular world view.

Hey,. take food stamps for example. If you don't like the stimulus, I'll take as a given that you HATE the idea of stimulus funds going there, but, unlike other stimulus money, it went straight into the economy, spent nearly immediately, getting turned over multiple times into the economy (grocery stores, manufacturers, distributors, farmers, etc)

Whereas the availability of "shovel ready" projects caused lengthy delays in getting the money into the pipeline (and the jobs created).

Oct. 09 2010 03:05 PM

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