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Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Re-Elect Obama ... or Not

The most famous economist of all?
 If the nation should ever come under zombie attack, I would suggest rounding up econ professors as our first round of defense.  Econ professors are experienced in dealing with zombies.

It was the other night in my class that I sensed heads were about to hit the desk and students roll out of their chairs when I went into a mild rant.  We were talking about the recent unemployment report and the fact that the number of jobs added was about half that expected by economists.  The discussion turned to how it shook the stock market and how employment reports from here on out could be the turning point in the presidential race.

I gave them a little back story on the 2000 election and how it was so close that it boiled down to Florida and eventually ended up in the courts.  My main emphasis, though, and what they couldn't readily appreciate, is that the world is much different today than if that election would have turned out differently.  George W. cut taxes and went looking for weapons of mass destruction which morphed into a war.  From a projection of a massive budget surplus, which could have solved Social Security and many other problems, we experienced record deficits and were promised a balanced budget by 2008 at which time the tax cuts, we were told, would have the economy permanently operating at potential. Voters were promised a smaller government and  a responsible approach to federal spending.  But that isn't how it turned out.

The path, for better or worse, would have been much different if Gore had won the presidency.  I doubt there is anyone who would debate that.

Although candidates spend considerable time in debates to hopefully enable Americans to understand their different philosophies and approaches to major issues, many times elections turn on 1 or 2 basic issues or events.  Sometimes it can be a snappy comeback in a debate like Reagan's response on age that he wouldn't exploit Mondale's youth.  This go-around, it looks like the basic issue might be employment. As the class discussion proceeded, this realization led the class to a plan that the re-election campaigns of either party can adapt.

Reelect Obama Plan  Urge every Democrat to get a job.  Take the job at Dunkin Donuts, Staples wherever; but get counted as working.  This has to be done by early October!  The goal is to get an increase in non-farm payroll of at least 400,000 for the November report on 11/2.  With over 12 million Americans unemployed, this shouldn't be that difficult, especially with the reported number of job vacancies.

If it is too much to take a job, then stop looking!  Become a discouraged worker.  If you leave the labor force, you will contribute to a lower employment rate.

Elect Romney  Here the plan is to do the opposite.  Make an arrangement to quit your job with the understanding you'll get hired back in November.  This is just a variation of Merrill Lynch's buying Enron's Nigerian barges with the promise that Enron would buy them back after Enron's earning were fraudulently increased.


  1. The discouraged worker option has done wonders for the unemployment numbers so far.

  2. It is fascinating and sad to see fortunes turn in a matter of just a decade due to terrible policies. From a budget surplus to this.