from Pajamas Media- Zero Jobs 101 — the Psychology of Alienating Employers by Victor Davis Hansen – September 2, 2011
In the last 30 months, the Obama administration has created a psychological landscape that finally just seemed, whether fairly or not, too hostile to most employers to risk new hiring and buying. Each act, in and of itself, was irrelevant. Together they are proving catastrophic and doing the near impossible of turning a brief recovery into another recession.
Despite enormous opportunity for many cash-rich firms to take advantage of the down cycles (low interest, plentiful potential employees, discounted prices, etc.), they are taking a pass, almost as if to collectively sigh, “This bunch doesn’t like me much and I’m going to hunker down, hoard my cash, and sit out the next year and a half until they are gone.” And the administration’s efforts to counteract these symbols and impressions by courting a high-profile, hyper-capitalist Warren Buffett, or a GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt have proven even more ironic: the former calls for higher taxes that his firms seek to avoid, or targets his post-mortem wealth to (more efficient?) private foundations that rob the Treasury of billions in lost inheritance taxes, or knows higher taxes won’t much matter to his tens of billions in net worth; the latter’s firm paid no 2010 U.S. income taxes on many of its profits and outsourced jobs overseas.
Hanson nails the psyche of the small business employers I speak with frequently. The media and talking heads focus in this policy and that policy but it is the sum total of the job killing policies that has brought us to a standstill. Picture a seesaw with business on one end trying to make a profit and the sum total of all friction costs on the other end. We have loaded so many costs on the other end that even if we removed a few we could not tilt the balance back towards economic growth.
There is a wide gap in the business psyche of a Warren Buffet or Jeffrey Immelt at GE and the average small business person where the bulk of jobs are created. Obama is clueless about the needs of small business. They are going Galt.