The Real Reason the Left Hates Work

The Real Reason the Left Hates Work

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Why does the left hate job creation? Exhibit number one: today’s lead editorial from the White House, that is, The New York Times. The paper notes correctly that this recovery is still woefully subpar, as measured by the number of people who remain out of work and – even more alarming – the number who have given up the hunt.

Despite adding 288,000 jobs last month, mostly in the private sector, and though unemployment has dropped to 6.3 percent, far too many Americans can’t find work. As important, the ongoing slack in the jobs market means that wages are more or less stuck, and incomes flat.

The Times notes that the percentage of Americans ages 16 and older who are working is 62.8 percent -- the lowest since the late 1970s. That was when Jimmy Carter was president. 

Related: April Jobs Report Both Boom and Bust

The Grey Lady editorial board also reminds us that this recovery has been the weakest since World War II, as though many Americans need reminding. Needless to say, they throw the blame on Republicans, authors of two “recent outrages” – not reinstating extended unemployment benefits and blocking a vote to inflate the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour – a 40 percent increase that the Congressional Budget Office says would cost half a million jobs. That’s sure a great way to gin up the recovery.

Not a word from the liberal Bible on creating jobs. Okay, so approving the Keystone XL Pipeline has become a cliché – but for the 20,000 or so people that would find well-paid work during the construction of Keystone, that particular cliché would be quite welcome. 

If you’re not keen on pipelines, how about President Obama pushing forward the Detroit-Windsor Bridge to Canada, that has funding available and is an important project to a close ally? That one is held up, some believe, because Obama doesn’t want to give Michigan (GOP) Governor Rick Snyder any help in turning around Detroit. Heaven forbid a pro-growth Republican manages to haul the country’s largest-ever failed city from the ashes.

Related: Obama Is Using Detroit as a Political Punching Bag

If those projects aren’t appealing, how about getting on board the $652 million Savannah Port Expansion? That one even has enthusiastic backing from Vice President Joe Biden, and is viewed as important to the country. After 15 years of study, everyone agrees this is a must-have improvement in our shipping capabilities, and yet to the astonishment of local authorities, monies for the project fell out of the federal budget. But Georgia’s GOP Governor Nathan Deal is in a tight race for reelection against Democrat Jason Carter whose political strategist formerly ran Obama’s campaign in the South. Another coincidence?

Instead of initiating every possible measure, program and project that might put people back to work, President Obama and his followers on the left prefer to offer increased benefits for the unemployed – even though numerous studies suggest that doing so beyond a certain point (which we have now crossed) – actually impedes returning to higher employment. Like bad doctors, they would rather treat the symptoms than cure the disease. (And no, I am not likening the unemployed to the sick.)

Related: Democratic Pushback on Unemployment Insurance Mounts

Some on the right think this strategy is part of a grand plan. They see an increase in the number of Americans who are dependent on the federal government as beneficial to Democrats, who largely win the votes of those to whom they offer ever-higher benefits and welfare. I refuse to imagine that any such insidious thinking is behind the left’s refusal to embrace job creation. 

I believe, instead, that it springs from a wide-spread lack of private sector experience. President Obama believes the government can right all wrongs – that’s the wellspring from which community activists derive their inspiration. It is a philosophy that has done great damage to this country in recent years – and we’re not out of the woods yet. 

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After more than two decades on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, Liz Peek became a columnist and political analyst. Aside from The Fiscal Times, she writes for, The New York Sun and Women on the Web.