A lot of things shut down for Martin Luther King Day, but some things must go on every day, like train service, radio broadcasts and the announcement of new Democratic Presidential candidates. Monday’s was California Sen. Kamala Harris. There’s not a lot to set her apart from the horde thus far: she’s virulently anti-Trump; far to the left; from a deep blue state; backs government health care (in her case, Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan), sanctuary cities and legalized pot; wants to raise taxes on corporations and “the rich;” and has a resume consisting entirely of government positions.
She also claims to be running to restore “American Values,” but I don’t think most Americans would agree with her ideas on what those are or how to defend them. Like, I don’t think you stand up for “decency, equality, and freedom,” by attacking someone for being Catholic.
A couple of things do set her apart from the rest of the occupants of the crowded Democratic Presidential clown car: her background is mostly as a prosecutor and state Attorney General, which might cause problems with the faction of the Democratic base that distrusts law enforcement and thinks all police are racists; and she’s promising a tax credit for the lowest level of taxpayers.
That’s already getting flak from the left (“Why not a tax credit for people who don’t pay taxes at all?!”) and from the right (“Her tax plan would add $2.8 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years while Medicare For All is estimated to cost as much as $33 trillion over 10 years.” By the way, has anyone checked to see if there even IS that much money?) But don’t worry, in the grand tradition of all snake oil salesmen, we are assured that these plans will eventually pay for themselves – which would be neat, since we’re having a hard time even paying for Medicare For Retirees.
Like most of the other Democrats currently rushing onto the field, Sen. Harris is vowing to “fight” for the working people, whom she assures us are getting a terrible raw deal under Trump. I have to assume that argument is based on the hope that Americans have a very short attention span.
While the media have done their best to drown it out with 24/7 anti-Trump hysteria, there is almost no measure of the economy that isn’t better for the working classes than it was the last time someone who shared Sen. Harris’ political views was in the White House. Wages are finally rising, manufacturing jobs are coming back, and unemployment for virtually every demographic is near or at record lows.
Compare that to just a little over two years ago, when Obama was still in office and just finishing history’s first Presidential administration without a single year of GDP growth over 3%. He not only couldn’t bring back manufacturing jobs, he mocked the very idea of them ever coming back. In June of 2016, Obama said this to a crowd in Elkhart, Indiana:
“…When somebody says that he’s going to bring all these jobs back. Well, how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it. He just says, ‘I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’ Well, how? How exactly are you going to negotiate that? What magic wand do you have? And usually, the answer is, he doesn’t have an answer.”
Trump recalled that by poking Obama with his response to the recent jobs numbers, tweeting, “I guess I found a magic wand.”
While the left is quick to give Obama credit for the recent jobs boom, claiming he set the stage and just had the bad luck that the economy didn’t “take off” until after he left (a similar claim has been made for Jimmy Carter), the numbers tell a different story, especially when you break it down into the kind of jobs created under each leader.
According to Forbes, manufacturing jobs grew seven times faster under Trump than under Obama. The rate of creation of manufacturing jobs is now five times higher than that of government jobs. Under Obama, government jobs were created at six times the rate of manufacturing jobs.
Or check out this chart from the Labor Department. Comparing just the last two years of Obama to the first two years of Trump, under Obama, mining support jobs fell by 22.7%. Under Trump, they grew by 27.6%. Oil and gas extraction jobs: down 22.3% under Obama, up 2% under Trump. Machinery manufacturing: down 4% under Obama, up 5.1% under Trump. Fabricated metals manufacturing: down 2.6% under Obama, up 5.3% under Trump. It’s a similar story in other blue collar fields.
Adding to the irony, the unemployment rate in Elkhart, Indiana, were Obama made his dismissive “magic wand" comments, now has an unemployment rate of 2%, half the national average. The Wall Street Journal reported last April, “No place in the U.S. has seen a labor-market turnaround like this metropolitan region of 110,000 workers, a mix of blue-collar whites, Mexican immigrants and Amish.” A Ball State University economist said, “It’s like 1955. If you show up and have minimal literacy skills, you can find a job here.”
(I should point out that in 1955, we also had a Republican President with no prior political experience and a deep distrust of Washington’s “military-industrial complex.”)
When it comes time to vote in 2020, whoever finally emerges from the Democratic primaries will get billions of dollars’ worth of free advertising from the media, intent on convincing Americans to ignore what they saw with their own eyes and their personal experience in the working world over the past decade, and believe that going back to the failed, big government, leftist policies of the Obama era will make their lives easier and more prosperous. They will once again be asked to believe the age-old political promise of a “chicken in every pot,” this time updated to a “Tofurky in every Instant Pot.”
The Democrats must be hoping there will be a cuckoo in every voting booth.