Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama's Clever Intangibles

Barack Obama is a clever guy, dangerously clever. If you've been watching him closely, you will see that he has already been dropping the seeds of his 2012 reelection campaign.

During the presidential campaign Obama suggested that America would be able to reduce "our demand for electricity by 15 percent by the end of the next decade." It's impossible to believe that in our increasingly automated and computerized world with a constantly growing population that we will actually reduce our demand for electricity. Just the same it will be easy for Obama to claim that we did depending on which set of cooked numbers he uses to demonstrate such a highly subjective number like "demand for electricity." How do you even calculate such a thing? Wait four years and you'll find out.

Another clever promise Obama has made is how he will save or create three million jobs, a total that was actually revised upward from a month ago. Everyone seems wowed by this big goal, but how exactly are we supposed to know four years from now whether or not he's achieved it?

You cannot accurately predict how many jobs would be saved or lost over a sustained period of time in an economy that is fluid. You can project that, all things being equal, a certain number of jobs were created, but were they created as a direct result of Obama's policies or would they have been created regardless of his policies? Conceivably Obama could take credit for all the jobs created while he was president. After all, President Bush is being blamed for all the jobs lost on his watch.

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