Several American oil companies had just posted some robust profits, and the soon-to-be-President Obama seemed to think this was a bad thing. “First of all,” candidate Obama stated, “you’ve got oil companies making record profits…no… no companies in history have made the kind of profits the oil companies are makin’ right now…They..they…….one company, Exxon Mobil, made eleven billion dollars…billion, with a “b” ….last quarter….they made eleven billion dollars the quarter before that…makin’ money hand-over-fist…makin’ out like bandits…”
That was some great campaign rhetoric back then. But today we are in dire need of great policies from our President – and maligning American companies for being “too profitable” doesn’t incentivize them to grow.
Fast-forward to January 29th of 2009. Despite the economic decline, some of the nation’s largest financial and lending institutions had actually just posted some hefty profits, and had paid their executives bonuses. And once again President Obama chastised the achievement, stating “there will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses…now’s not that time, and that’s a message I intend to send directly to them..” Apparently, in Mr. Obama’s view, it is sometimes preferable for companies to be unprofitable – yet unprofitable companies don’t “create jobs.”
And here’s one of my favorites, from May of 2009. Speaking at the commencement exercises at Arizona State University, President Obama advised the new college graduates against private-sector success: “…You’re taught to chase after all the usual brass rings,” the President lamented. “Yah try to be on this ‘who’s who’ list or that ‘top 100 list’…ya chase after the big money, ya figure out how big your corner office is…ya worry about whether or not ya have a fancy enough title, or a fancy enough car…Now you can take that road, and it may work, for some. But at this critical juncture in our nation’s history, at this difficult time, let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go. Did you study business? You can go start a company…or, why not go help a struggling not-for-profit find better and more effective ways to help folks in need?”
From there the President went on to extol the many virtues of “public service” – that is, becoming a government employee – and how important it is for people to become public school teachers. Yet he had nothing positive to say about how to create the wealth that funds the non-profit groups and that pays for the labor of the government employees.
Barack Obama is the President who loathes and chastises for-profit enterprise while praising and expanding government bureaucracies. Our current economic conditions provide a mirror image to the President’s vision.
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.