by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Obama called for increasing the minimum wage. That always tests well in polls. But in real life it tends not to create but to destroy jobs, especially for young people with few skills and little work experience.
He also called for job retraining, a Community College to Career Initiative. Unfortunately, studies have shown for years that government job training programs aren’t very effective.
In the meantime, the administration and congressional Democrats have been launching attacks on for-profit higher education firms, many of which do a better job of equipping young people for the job market.
Obama mentioned in passing his administration’s efforts to connect 99 percent of students to high-speed Internet. But it’s not a lack of connectivity that is holding the economy back.
The president said more about his proposal for universal pre-school education. But the administration’s own studies have shown that the four-decades-old Head Start program produces little in the way of lasting educational gains.
This looks more like an expensive attempt to create more jobs for teacher union members — and more union-dues money to help elect Democratic politicians — than a serious attempt to stimulate the economy.
Amazingly, Obama called for more money to create jobs in wind and solar energy. No mention was made of the hundreds of millions in loan guarantees lavished on the now bankrupt Solyndra and A123 Systems.
To that list he added natural gas. But the boom in natural gas has occurred more despite, not because of administration policies.