But then there was President Obama’s initial response to the question, the part that was largely ignored. “I don’t think it’s a matter of me being unable to convince them…,” the President told Curry. “They’re making decisions based on what they think will be good for their companies…” The President’s acknowledgement that companies are NOT hiring because it is in their best interests to NOT hire, speaks to a phenomenon known in the field of economics as “rational self interest.” Every individual, and every organization, is motivated at least in part by their own self-interest, and this is a very normal, understandable, and very “healthy” thing.
So why is it in the best interests of companies to NOT hire, despite their “record profits?” The answer, in a nutshell, is bad government policy. The more the President and his party try to “have their way” with businesses, the more businesses don’t cooperate.
Throughout the course of his public life Barack Obama has rarely had a positive word at all to say about American enterprise, and has most often characterized business as greedy and “selfish,” rather than rationally self-interested. Now, after more than two years of these kinds of assumptions undergirding our nation’s laws, the lack of “job creation” is beginning to speak for itself.
If this seems “unfair” to the President, then consider some important facts. Take for example the President’s “crackdown” on the banking industry from early January of 2010. Lending institutions weren’t lending enough back then, not even to people with good credit, yet the lack of good lending didn’t seem to matter to our President. So far as her was concerned the crisis of bad mortgage and credit card debt was the fault of “greedy lenders,” so he and his party in Congress brought about a slew of new penalties and regulations upon those lenders, all under the guise of credit card and mortgage “reform.” Now, almost a year and a half later, lending has become even more rare while most of us have seen credit card fees and penalties increase, rather than decrease.
And here are some other facts. During his first campaign for the White House, Barack Obama actually proposed that our government should begin taxing capital. I don’t mean taxing “capital gains,” or interest income. I mean that the man who is now our President campaigned, in part, on a pledge to tax money that is simply sitting in banks. Further, our President also campaigned during the 2008 oil price spike on a promise to tax the so-called “windfall profits” of petroleum companies -as though more taxes would have driven prices of gasoline downward. And he frequently lectured about his desire to bring America to “economic justice,” never really explaining what that would entail, yet being clear that the American economic system is inherently “unjust” and in need of his “change.”
This is all to say that Barack Obama has treated American enterprise as a whipping boy, subject to his and his party’s penalties, requirements, fees, fines and demands. He has created an environment where it has become very risky for businesses to employ anybody – and he has created a huge disincentive to take new risks and to begin hiring new workers.
Now, the President’s most loyal followers seem genuinely surprised that after roughly thirty months in the White House, he hasn’t “created more jobs.” But the “loyalists” would do well to ask a business owner this question – instead of the President himself.
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.