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Campaigning in Kansas today, President Obama momentarily forgot which of the 57 states he was in:

But that was just a slip of the tongue. The really dumb thing he said is that the internet is causing unemployment:

Layoffs too often became permanent, not part of the business cycle. And these changes didn’t just affect blue collar workers. If you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent, you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs and the internet.

This is one more reminder–as if we needed it–that President Obama has no understanding of the economy. He is, at heart, a Luddite. He doesn’t understand that when work is made more efficient, as by the internet, our economy becomes more productive and we are all better off. The internet has been responsible for creating countless jobs, as well as making many more jobs more efficient and therefore more profitable. Conversely, when inefficiency is created–as, for example, by wasteful “stimulus” spending or pointless regulations–wealth is destroyed, we all become poorer, and jobs are scarcer.

Obama’s reference to “phone operators” is revealing. Years ago, I read that early in the development of the telephone, some sage calculated that there could never be more than a certain number of telephones in use in the United States, because at that point, every young woman in America would be employed as a switchboard operator. In the event, that turned out not to be the constraint on telephone usage. But from Obama’s perspective, it would be a good thing to smash all that telephone equipment so that we could reduce unemployment among women to zero by putting them to work as switchboard operators. I truly believe that Obama has no understanding of why that would be a bad idea.

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