The Congress is once again faced with a dilemma: is financial regulatory reform going to raise domestic investment to create jobs? Jobs are at the top of the list of every representative and senator along with being on top of the pile on the President’s desk.
The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a forecast some time ago which was prominently featured on Organizing for America (OFA) web site that unemployment will gradually decrease by 2016 from the current high level of 10 per cent. The cause for the prolonged unemployment was explained as being partly cyclical must mostly structural in the echo chamber of Washington from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 20th Street and Constitution Avenue where the Federal Reserve overlooks the reflecting pool on the National Mall.
Partway across the country, in the plains of the windy North Dakota the year is still 2010 and unemployment is at 4 per cent, without much government intervention. The towns do not have places to sleep or homes to live in for the droves of workers coming into the state looking for work. The employment is being created in the energy sector because the state is extracting domestic oil at a time when oil is the bad word in the politically correct energy debate which has thus far failed to produce a comprehensive energy bill.
The President recently approved sourcing more domestic natural gas and oil, but that process is expected to take until 2014 before it can create any jobs. North Dakota’s fortune is the current market conditions in the oil sector because the oil exporting countries want to hold the price per barrel of oil at around $80 per barrel. The reasoning is that it is better to produce more domestically even if it dents oil imports by only a small amount, especially at a time when keeping energy costs low is paramount if the economy is to recover robustly. Genuine Main Street American patriotism is at work in the prairie while Washington is spinning its wheels over energy policy.
The charm of the hordes of educated migrants to Washington, unlike those to North Dakota, is to believe in their own figment of reality as opposed to that outside their offices in the vast expanse north, west and south, similar to the famous Saul Steinberg cartoon on the cover of The New Yorker, as if Washington has caught the New York disease.
The policy wonks surrounding the politicians argue endlessly, in their physical presence in Washington and virtually from the other coast across from it, that their colleagues are correct. They must be commended for preventing a Great Depression that never happened and therefore must tolerate extended unemployment with the attendant benefits until this hopeful President’s second term in office is also done in 2016, for him to claim the victory of robust economic recovery by way of more government.
Obama must invite all of his policy wonks who speak about the economy with a wink and a nod on all sides of all issues, including his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, his Director of the National Economic Council (NEC), Larry Summers and the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who appears to have gotten his reappointment as a quid pro quo for perhaps, in some measure, to both craft and support the White House’s policies to be an echo in the fish bowl of Washington to go with him to North Dakota for a visit. With no motel space in town, they can sleep on Air Force One.
When they return, the country might perhaps get a comprehensive clean energy bill to bring unemployment down to 4 per cent by 2012 across the country if the President is interested in changing his political climate beginning Earth Day 40.