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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

“Bring Out Your Jobs”: Professor Alan “Cash-for-Clunkers” Krueger. Yeah. That’s the Ticket.

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The increasingly risible Obama Administration is turning to –wait for it– an Ivy League professor and the master theorist behind cash-for-clunkers to guide the latest attempt to ignore the fact that the private sector creates jobs and must be both incentivized and left alone to do so.

Let’s stipulate that Professor Alan Krueger is a smart, able and even charming fellow, but really, has he ever created jobs? Any jobs at all? Yesterday I interviewed the president of Gibson Guitars,Henry Juszkiewicz whose firm is under a massive assault by the federal government for the most absurd of reasons. Gibson createdmore than 500 new jobs last year on top of about 2,000 already in existence, and is exporting 60% of its guitars. The charges against them are absurd to anyone with any background in international import/export regimes. But there is Team Obama, crushing employment just as it is doing in South Carolina with Boeing and in a thousand other places across the country.

Even Jonathan Alter sort of gets the awesome incompetence of the president’s legions of regulators when it comes to jobs, but only sort of.

” Boeing, I agree with you, I don’t like what the NLRB is doing, but there’s been a kind of a canard out there that somehow that’s cost jobs,” Jonathan told me on yesterday’s show. (Transcript here.) “No jobs have been cost by that decision. You’re right that there’s some harassment there which I don’t approve of, and that’s not by the administration directly, but it’s by a board that Obama appointed. So it’s a fair shot at the Democrats.”

How trying to punish a new plant opening doesn’t cost jobs is beyond me, but at least Alter has figured out that the Obama regulatory legions have fanned out across the land to punish the perceived enemies of unions in places like Tennessee and South Carolina.

Jonathan also doesn’t appear to understand that EPA’s ongoing attempt to impose cap-and-trade via regulatory diktat is chilling expansion, and of course that Obamacare looms off the coast of the economy even as Irene did, forcing job creators to hunker down or flee. This is the problem of the left and I suspect of good Professor Cash-for-Clunkers Krueger: They really don’t know how job creators think, plan and expand, and thus they don’t know how to create incentives for them to do so.

You don’t build houses in hurricanes, and the president’s past 33 months and the next 15 are just such an economic hurricane.

Off air Jonathan, a genuinely fine guy with whom I might take to the road for a debate or two, challenged me on what I would do to stimulate the economy. My short answer is always the same: There are $7 trillion in assets in retirement accounts which cannot be used except under a penalty and standard tax rates after the penalty. Time to allow for non-penalized, non-taxed withdrawals of some or even most of these accounts for a list of approved purposes such as the purchase or start-up of a business or the paydown of a mortgage. (In the latter case this single step would do more to stop the housing crisis than any ten initiatives of the government –just let people use their savings to save their most important asset.)

One additional note: On yesterday’s program I announced an Axe Amnesty program for all the troubled souls holding a potentially illegal Gibson Guitar. You can drop it off at our studios no questions asked. We will find the Rescured Gibsons good homes. Email me at


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