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OBAMA: The Obsolete ‘Post Office President’ – RCP

September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

Obama: The Obsolete ‘Post Office President’

By Robert Tracinski

The preposterous irrelevance of President Obama’s jobs speech is summed up by the fact that he repeatedly urged Congress to “pass this jobs bill right away”–but there is no bill. By the admission of his own aides, Obama’s jobs bill is still being drafted. It won’t be submitted until next week, and his plan for how to pay for it won’t be submitted until the week after that. (Even then, the plan is mostly to pass the buck to the “super-committee” created by this summer’s debt ceiling compromise.) All of this gave his exhortations an air of “buy now!” hucksterism. For a moment there, I wasn’t sure whether he was selling us a jobs bill or the Slap Chop. Except that Vince Shlomi is a much better salesman.

Yet there is a much deeper and more profound irrelevance to the president’s proposals. They are all based on the premise that the government can come up with a few targeted initiatives and select some worthy projects to fund through a federal “infrastructure bank,” and this will somehow press the magic levers that produce economic growth. None of this has any relation to the actual dynamism of a free economy, because Obama does not grasp the source of that dynamism.

We’re about to get a really big reminder of how the constant change and progress or a free society overturns the static calculations of government bureaucrats. The US Postal Service is bankrupt. At its current rate, it will have to shut down this winter because it will run out of cash to pay its bills. This has been coming for a long time, and not just because of a bloated union payroll. First-class mail is the core business of the Postal Service, and the Internet has simply made it unnecessary. From everyday communications to bills and bank statements, practically everything can now be done by e-mail or online. Even our junk mail is digital now. So while President Obama is talking about a jobs bill, an obsolete government-run entity is about to lay off hundreds of thousands of superfluous workers.

This is a monument to the folly that politicians and bureaucrats are able to make judgments about the most productive investments in infrastructure and economic growth. They can’t make these predictions because no one can. Recently Newsweek posted on its website on old article from its 1995 print issue informing us that this whole “Internet” thing is an overblown fad, because “no online database will replace your daily newspaper” and “the myopic glow of a clunky computer” can’t replace “the friendly pages of a book.” She’ll never fly, Orville.

via RealClearMarkets – Obama: The Obsolete ‘Post Office President’.

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