“Get out of the way.” With this statement, John Galt articulated the simple and necessary policy solution to the disastrous centrally-planned economy in Atlas Shrugged. It’s also sage advice that President Obama should consider before he unveils his latest jobs plan before the Joint Session of Congress tonight.
This advice is strikingly prescient as our nation’s economy moves ever-closer to mirroring the calamitous state of affairs that befell society in Rand’s novel.
During his two and half years in office, Obama has crushed the labor market with a pro-statist agenda, which includes ObamaCare, the stimulus package, coziness to Big Labor, crony capitalism, and green-energy initiatives.
Of these policies, ObamaCare poses the biggest obstacle to job creation. If it’s found constitutional, the employer-mandate, and thousands of pages of regulations and bureaucratic mandates will hammer businesses with exorbitant compliance costs. Making matters worse, the pending legal challenges are causing uncertainty that leaves the business community stagnant. It’s nearly impossible for businesses to plan for the future when they have no way of predicting the structure of their healthcare plan.
Obama’s deep reliance on crony capitalism is another major hindrance to economic growth. During his administration, Obama’s campaign contributors and favored industries have been the primary recipients of government’s largess. This approach has lead to massive spending with very little results.
Take the solar firm Solyndra as an example. As part of the administration’s goal to create “green jobs,” Solyndra was able to secure two loan guarantees worth more than $545 million dollars since 2009. Yet despite the administration’s best effort to pick a winner in the market place, Sylondra recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy – leaving 1,100 workers unemployed and costing American taxpayers over half of a billion dollars.
But the administration’s partnership with big-business doesn’t end there. After setting a goal of putting one million electric cars on the road by 2015, the central-planner-in-chief is working hard to meet this arbitrary deadline. The government subsidized the manufacturing of Government Motor’s Chevy Volt to the tune of $400 million. In addition, they offered a $7,500 tax credit to consumers as an incentive to buy this outrageously expensive car. Yet again, the president’s effort to micromanage the economy failed. In July, GM sold only 125 Volts – proving that Americans are voting against the president’s agenda with their wallets.
Obama also selected Jeffrey Immelt as the chairperson of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Immelt is the CEO of General Electric which hasn’t paid a penny in income taxes in over two years and has benefited from the government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs. Prior to the ban, GE had invested in Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) which it earns higher profit margins on by manufacturing in China.
Finally, one of the most blatant examples of Obama’s job destruction is his close relationship to labor unions. Through a recess appointment, Obama appointed radical labor advocate, Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker – former Associate General Counsel for the SEIU – now sits on the NLRB which is supposed to be an objective arbitrator of labor disputes. Because of other similar appointments by Obama, the NLRB recently delivered one of the most egregiously reckless labor decisions in history – forbidding Boeing to create a new plant in South Carolina. At a time when the unemployment rate exceeds 9 percent, this decision is unconscionable. Nevertheless, it’s the Obama agenda.
From a philosophical perspective, John Galt and Barack Obama are polar opposites. But the two figures do share one commonality: destruction. John Galt succeeded in destroying the economy by convincing the wealth creators to strike; Barack Obama is destroying wealth and prosperity through a flood of statist policies.
During the past several years, it has been common for tea partiers to hold up signs asking, “Who is John Galt?” But maybe they are asking the wrong question. Perhaps we should modernize this saying to reflect the true wealth destroyer in America. Today, the more salient question is: Who is Barack Obama?