If that sounds harsh, consider the economics of Barack Obama over the past couple of years. Among others, he campaigned on themes of: A) raising taxes on oil companies to get even with them for their so-called “windfall profits;” B) “reigning-in” executive salaries; C) raising the capital gains tax rate; D) “cracking-down” (whatever that means) on both the insurance, and pharmaceutical industries; E) raising income tax rates on high-income earners (the definition of “high-income earner” has been raised and lowered repeatedly in the past 24 months); and E) that elusive promise of making both healthcare, and a college education, “universal.”
Since becoming our President, Barack Obama has, in no particular order: A) alleged that Medical Doctors sometimes perform unnecessary procedures merely for the sake of enhancing their salaries; B) sought greater ability for his Administration to seize private banks; C) engaged in a public campaign of maligning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ; D) forced the Chrysler corporation into a bankruptcy (if G.M. fell into bankruptcy, Chrysler got “pushed”) that defied both bankruptcy law and accounting rules, by requiring some of Chrysler’s creditors to accept payments of less than 30 cents on the dollar (by law those creditors were entitled to 100% payment of the debt); and E)ordered his “Executive Compensation Czar” to mandate anywhere from 50 to 90% salary cuts for executives of bailout-receiving companies.
Some Americans may look at this list (which is not, by any means, conclusive) and determine that the President’s approach to economics is, at worst, benign, and at best, helpful. But this is, again, to ignore yet another essential truth about economics: in order for economic growth to take place, participants in the economy must be willing to take risks, and to invest, with the prospect of earning a “return” on their investment if their enterprise is successful.
And the President has dis-incentivized this necessary risk-taking. Roughly 11 months into his Presidency, Obama has consistently threatened and impugned successful individuals and enterprises, and Americans who have dared to disagree with him. And despite what Obama’s Manufacturing Czar Ron Bloom (and communist dictator Mao Tse-Tung) say about how “justice comes from the barrel of a gun,” American economic growth most certainly does not. When government’s “guns” get drawn, investors, entrepreneurs and businesses run and hide – that is, they seek to minimize their risks by not investing, not hiring, not creating new things, and thus - they don’t produce “economic growth.”
After last week’s White House “jobs summit,” the President claimed that he is "open to every demonstrably good idea” that might create jobs, yet noted that “we also though have to face the fact that our resources are limited."
Barack Obama may be surprised by what a tremendous “resource” the American people can be - if he could only get out of our way.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.