"There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses…now is not that time. And that's a message that I intend to send directly to them…"
Those words were uttered by our President on January 29th of 2009. He was reacting to the news that some American corporations, even some that had received government “bailout” funds, had both posted profits, and had paid bonuses to their executives.
And those were extraordinary words. They implied that, so far as President Obama is concerned, there are times when it is appropriate for American companies to not earn a profit, and times when it is appropriate for workers to not be compensated for their labor.
And now, after twenty months of our government’s policies being driven by Barack Obama’s very counterintuitive economic thinking, and with the national unemployment average approaching ten percent, I’m left wondering: is this what our President intended?
These days, Mr. Obama is saying some very different things. Speaking at the University of Texas at Austin earlier this month, the President stated that “we need an economy that puts Americans back to work, an economy that's built around three simple words -- Made in America…because we are not playing for second place. We are the United States of America, and like the Texas Longhorns, you play for first -- we play for first…”
Some twenty months in to his presidency, Barack Obama apparently feels it is necessary to reassure Americans that he still wants a robust U.S. economy, and that he actually wants America to be “first” (we still are “first,” by the way – but that’s beside the point). It’s not surprising that Americans have doubts about our President’s support of America, but again I’m left wondering: is this what President Obama intended?
For as long as Barack Obama has been a household name, he has devoted much of his time and energy to maligning American free enterprise. While campaigning for the presidency, Senator Obama traversed the country preaching, among other things, his economic doctrines. And the recurrent themes from these economic messages were quite clear: A) our nation’s greatest enemies were not terrorists or hostile nations, but American corporations; B) American oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and businesses that “shipped jobs overseas,” were among the worst fenders; and C) victory over these enemies would not be achieved until he, himself, could control these various sectors of our economy.
Recall that in 2008, global oil prices spiked upward, creating a sharp rise in gasoline prices, and candidate Obama’s “solution” to the problem of four dollar-a-gallon gasoline was to raise taxes on oil companies.
Anyone with the most limited appreciation of free market economics knows that raising taxes on product producers doesn’t lead to a lower price on the product (producers pass along the cost of the tax to their consumers by adding it into the pricing of their product). But lowering the cost of gasoline wasn’t necessarily Senator Obama’s goal, given that the other part of his “plan” was to use the revenue taken from the oil companies in the form of a “tax increase” to give “working Americans” a “voucher” that they could use for oil and gasoline purchases.
Candidate Obama’s plan was perhaps to make gasoline and oil purchases more affordable in some instances, but not universally and not in all instances. What Obama was proposing was a means of increasing governmental control over the private sector economy and over private citizens’ lives – and no doubt Mr. Obama himself would be happy to decide who really qualifies as a real “working American” and who was therefore deserving of a special “voucher.”
Fortunately, global oil prices subsided, and Obama’s chatter about raising taxes on oil companies did too. But since becoming our President, Barack Obama has continued to do things that work against economic growth and expansion, yet help advance his control over the economy.
Bailouts for car companies? Barack Obama is the de facto CEO for General Motors and Chrysler these days, because, essentially, “they owe him,” and he can tell “them” who will be CEO, what products they will make, and so forth.
Bailouts for lending institutions? Our President and his friends in his Administration can dictate to banks who they will and will not lend to, and who deserves and does not deserve “help” with their mortgage.
This control dynamic escapes many presumably smart people in our national media. Some in the financial media have been shocked that Obama’s alleged “economic recovery” appears to have stalled. And New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, a frequent critic of President Obama, recently lamented that Obama appears to be an “incoherent President,” noting that he’s “with the banks,” then “he’s against the banks….he strains at being a populist, but his head is in the clouds…”
Yet there is nothing “incoherent” about Barack Obama. He is consistent with his quest for control. Our President has demonstrated that, for him, it’s not about being “for” or “against” “the banks,” or “Wall Street,” or “Main Street” – it’s about seizing power over private affairs, and he will achieve that power by what ever means necessary.
Slumping economy or not, the truth is abundantly clear: our President is achieving precisely what he intended.
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.