President Obama revealed a similar perspective last week when he lambasted the idea that business owners and other successful people earned that outcome. "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," the President explained.
And it is no wonder that he has reached this conclusion given that his Administration is in the business of giving “help” to select businesses all the time.
As the President surveys the economy, he sees an array of economic entities that he has either bestowed with favors—taxpayer-backed loans, bailouts, waivers from regulations, government contracts, an infusion of stimulus cash—or that he has punished, with tax or regulatory penalties or by favoring their competition. Given that success or failure can be traced back to government policy and the meddling of individual politicians, the President feels it’s only right that government take a cut from the winners it created so it can also offer consolation prizes to the system’s casualties.
Consider just a few of the ways that this Administration has been in the business of picking winners and losers. Most famous are the bailouts of select (heavily unionized) auto companies and the energy programs, which have been a vehicle to shower taxpayer-backed loans on politically-connected businesses, several of which have since gone belly-up.
Yet a similar dynamic has taken place as the federal government begins setting rules for the health insurance of 310 million Americans. This new power means the mighty rulers in Washington are in the position to offer reprieves to select groups. Hundreds of waivers were offered to unions and companies, large and small. Others were turned away. The standards used to decide which should and shouldn’t be granted clemency are unclear. That’s the point: Government alone, not the individual businesses or organizations, has the power to dictate, which burdens will remain and which will be lifted, and therefore to radically change any business’s prospects.