Barack Obama claims to be pro-growth. So does Greece, Spain, and almost everyone else. Why? Because admitting preference for the alternative—crushing, heavy-handed government interference that kills initiative and destroys wealth—is not attractive to any citizen of any country.
The problem lies in the meaning of “pro-growth”. As an unabashed capitalist, and as a supporter of free markets, I believe “pro-growth” means less government interference and more individual accountability where private sector businesses create the jobs and government pretty much stays out of the equation. But it's increasingly clear that our president has a much different idea and defines “pro-growth” far differently.
Of course, Barack Obama often says he is “pro-growth”—but the question to ask is: growth of what?
After three years in office, it seems rather clear that Obama believes in the growth of government. At the core of all of his policies is a belief that government can allocate resources more efficiently than can the private sector.
According to Obama, only the government can make wise “investments”. According to Obama’s view, private money and private investors are simply not as capable or as wise as is government in choosing the kinds of investments that will lead to growth and job expansion.
Not too surprisingly, Obama’s strange definition of “growth” is actually a call for a growth of government, growth of debt, growth of bureaucracy, growth of taxes and growth of government regulations. Barack Obama simply believes that taxpayers should be required (or compelled) to send more money to Washington where the political class can then decide how best to “invest” the money.
The “growth” that Barack Obama seeks, ultimately, is growth in government’s control over the lives of all Americans. As we have already learned from three years of watching our president try to apply this tragic economic theory, we have seen our economy stagnate as entrepreneurs and small businesses get squeezed. The only “growth” in Obama’s economy has been the growth of economically harmful and dangerous trends.
Obama has overseen a growth in the price of gas at the pump, growth in the nation’s dependency on foreign oil, growth in unemployment, growth in the number of people receiving and the amount of dollars allocated to entitlements, growth in the number of Czars designed to evade oversight from congress, even growth in the number of foreclosures.
In general, after three and a half years of the Obama administration’s “pro-growth” efforts, Americans are poorer and more dependent on the federal government.
Is this really what Americans are endorsing when they hear the term “pro-growth”? This is certainly not what the Founding Fathers envisioned.
Under Obama federal spending has grown from $1 trillion dollars in 2008 to almost $4 trillion dollars in just three years, without any growth in the economy, without any reduction in unemployment and without any significant improvement in the quality of life or opportunities for the future of Americans.
Under Obama, the public debt has grown to the point where it exceeds our nation’s annual GDP. Nowhere and at no time has this kind of equation ever been a recipe for economic growth.
LUnder Obama, the number of regulations affecting all aspects of American lives has grown. In 2011, the Obama administration put into place over 2000 different rules, statues or regulations affecting everything from the environment to the kinds of paper used for filing federal reports.
Under Obama, the number of czars has increased, even as the number of senate-confirmed leaders has dwindled. Coinciding with the increase in czars comes an increase in the bureaucracy, and an increase in the staff to support the czars, all paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Under Obama there has been growth in the number of unemployed, with minorities and teens hit the hardest.
Under Obama, the regulations affecting small businesses has created an environment of uncertainty and increased cost which discourages, rather than encourages, job creation.
Under Obama, Americans have seen an increase in the frequency of fear-mongering and race-baiting as a Democrat political strategy, designed to intimidate anyone who questions or criticizes Democrats’ flawed policies.
There has been growth under Obama—it’s just the wrong kind of growth. Lots of fine sounding rhetoric that fosters the illusion of growth. One thing seems clear--while we all seem to be speaking the same language the meaning varies greatly between what Obama says and what Americans understand.
When Barack Obama talks about his “pro-growth” agenda, Americans should start to ask just exactly what Obama hopes to “grow”.