Dan Kennedy

In other recessions, business start-ups and franchising have boomed, as many people squeezed out of jobs have opted to become their own bosses. But on CNBC a few days before Easter, the CEO of the Honey-Baked Ham Company, a franchisor, echoed what I’ve heard from most franchisors: the flow of prospective franchise buyers is down, a trickle of what it should be, because people are so afraid that they aren’t doing anything. They are convinced there’ll be no credit available to start and grow their business, afraid the industry they’re interested in will have its workers speed-unionized or assaulted with new taxes targeting it or its customers.

A group of investors I know, on the verge of starting a new community bank, backed out at the last minute. Why? Fear. They fear changes in rules after getting in the game, fear competing with nationalized major banks given unlimited funding by Obama, fear forced sale to weak or insolvent big banks in need of small, successful banks as food. I’ve heard the same fear voiced by other bankers.

Las Vegas has 10 percent+ unemployment and is awash in meeting and convention cancellations because executives are scared of being publicly pilloried by Obama and the media for having a convention in such a place.

Recently I was told by a high-level source to brace myself for news of insolvency and need for bail-out involving all the major, publicly traded life insurance companies. The tip proved true, as this began leaking into the news. Soon, I’m told, it will dawn on holders of policies with cash value and annuity owners that they are unprotected, and despite stiff surrender charge, there’ll be a mass withdrawal of cash from these wounded giants. Everywhere you turn, fear. Fear of Obama.

Underscoring it all are the long lines of people buying guns and stockpiling ammo. Contrary to typical media reporting, they aren’t all “gun freaks” either. Not, pardon the pun, by a long shot. I have a friend who has gone from none to nine guns placed strategically throughout her house. She is not an NRA member. She is an educated, intelligent liberal. She told me she and her liberal friends feared unemployment reaching 15 percent, a complete stock market crash, and that public anger over Obama’s failure would produce street violence, looting, armed demands for food. They had to be prepared to defend themselves.

Obama’s supposed hero convinced America there was nothing to fear but fear itself. Obama himself has persuaded us of something quite different. There is something very real to fear. Him.

Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur and contributor to the Business & Media Institute.