Millions of Americans still wonder why our current President remains so utterly clueless on economic policy. There is certainly a good argument that his leftist agenda, illustrated by his tiresome class-warfare blather and his continuing scorn for our most productive – and most job-creating – citizens, is the crux of the problem. The actual reason, however, is his complete lack of experience with basic economics and finance.
A couple of stories from my own CPA practice might help put this into perspective. A client of mine – a hard-working, successful entrepreneur considered by his peers to be a brilliant computer programmer – recently asked me for some help acquiring a vacation home. This man is extremely intelligent, yet when it came to understanding the relevant IRS tax regulations– even after carefully reading a “user-friendly” synopsis that he found on the Internet – he was baffled. What I did for him is what I do for all of my clients. I took these complex rules and explained them – along with their economic ramifications – in simple, plain English until he was comfortable enough to make an informed decision on his investment.
Over the years, this process has taken place hundreds of times which provides value to my clients. Anyone can plug numbers into a form, but understanding how economics and our tax system works, and then being able to clearly explain it to clients, comes from years of experience. More often than not, these clients are extremely smart and successful in their own field, but they have never spent the time and energy to grasp these fundamental issues.
I had a discussion with another gentleman who became an IRS agent after a lengthy career in the banking industry. We immediately communicated, principally because his banking years had provided him with a good business foundation -- unlike most of the people the IRS hires who seem to be sociology or history majors who can’t find a job elsewhere. Sure, they go through IRS training, but they never really grasp the intricacies because they have no starting point. They don’t understand business. They can’t relate to what I do because they have no frame of reference, having avoided the topic until their original degrees left them jobless.
Mr. Obama may be a smart man, but he cannot become a business brain through osmosis. It takes experience and a certain aptitude, neither of which he appears to have shown any interest in obtaining. He never even worked at a McDonald’s to understand simple business basics. There he would have observed manpower requirements, personnel management, inventory control, quality control, customer relations, and more – even if he was just an entry-level employee.