Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reading between the lines of President Obama's speech to the Chamber of Commerce: We can't go back to the free market--it actually works!

Centrist my foot.

Last week's speech to the Chamber of Commerce by President Obama contained dozens of platitudes and an ostensible homage to the free market, but the critical paragraph of his speech could not disguise his distaste for entrepreneurship and business.

If we’re fighting to reform the tax code and increase exports to help you compete, the benefits can’t just translate into greater profits and bonuses for those at the top. They have to be shared by American workers, who need to know that expanding trade and opening markets will lift their standards of living as well as your bottom line.

Here Obama resorts to his standard rhetoric: class warfare of the sort socialists have used for more than a century. This rap is no different than that employed by Vladimir Lenin, Juan Peron, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and dozens of other failed Marxist crackpots.

The playbook is simple: foment envy and hatred of some arbitrarily defined group called "the rich". Pity that the liberals who fall for this patter don't realize Obama defines "the rich" to include the sixth-generation farmer, the family that runs two dry-cleaners, or the businessman who risked everything to create a small manufacturing company. Obama has proposed no tax on "millionaires and billionaires" -- folks like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who are among his strongest supporters. Instead he proposes higher taxes on moderately successful businesses; increased taxation on capital gains; and estate taxes that punish asset-rich (but cash-poor) businesses like family farms.

We can’t go back to the kind of economy and culture that we saw in the years leading up to the recession, where growth and gains in productivity just didn’t translate into rising incomes and opportunity for the middle class.

Translation: we can't go back to the free market. What would we do with all of those millions of government bureaucrats who exist only to create new regulations on top of the hundreds of thousands of pages of existing laws and dictates?

In short, Obama's rhetoric rings hollow. Consider this graph depicting the change in household income, by segment, from 1980 to 1990. Using 2006 inflation-adjusted dollars, the percentage of poorest households decreased under President Reagan's much-derided "voodoo ecnomics"; likewise the percentage of wealthy households increased dramatically.

President Obama's speech to the Chamber was anything but triangulation. It was a call for more government, more regulation, and more of his failed "spread-the-wealth" policies.

Government bureaucrats aren't angels, though Obama would like you to believe they are. Corporate self-interest is far superior, provably superior, to any command-and-control, Soviet-style board of central planners.

Because Obama's economic theories can't work... and have never worked in all of human history.

Hat tip: Brad.

1 comment:


BHO has certainly done his share, by redistributing the assets of GM's and Chrysler's bond holders to the Unions.

We can't say he doesn't practice what he preaches.

"Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on "income distribution," the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned." Thomas Sowell