Suddenly and without notice, the most extraordinary thing has happened. Barack Obama is telling us he wants to help business, that he wants to be the friend of business. Imagine that. And get this: He blames conservatives for opposing his “inspired” behavior.
This is what we native Floridians used to call a “doozy” — something bizarre and troublesome at the same time. But let me muster up a better word to describe this silly season development: amusing.
You see, while the U.S. Senate asserts itself as a viable candidate for the Greatest Danger to Business award, no individual politician of recent vintage has hurt American business quite so much as Obama.
Try this pitch on for size: Obama says he wants to create a new Cabinet-level position to be called the “Secretary of Business.” Yes, I’m serious. Then he goes on to slam Republicans for not wanting his “streamlined government.”
You can’t make this stuff up. Do you think it’s possible that Obama doesn’t realize that Teddy Roosevelt already created a Department of Commerce in 1903 that’s in charge of “job creation” and strengthening the economy? Or maybe Obama forgot he had a Commerce Department, with all his fun golfing vacations and fundraising trips eating up his attention.
This was the same politician who told a Virginia crowd, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Obama credited government with being indispensable to business success. And in the next sentence, he said that in the Clinton government, “we created a lot of millionaires,” pointing out that it wasn’t their “hard work” and intelligence that made them a success. So I guess this new Secretary of Business will replace free markets and be in charge of finding ways for the government to create businesses and birth millionaires.
So far, these efforts to “help” businesses by President Obama, the man who has never run anything in his prior life, have been restricted to pouring taxpayer money into favored industries spawned by his political cronies, such as “green energy” and companies that benefit from a cap-and-trade carbon tax. Remember his $535 million Solyndra bankruptcy boondoggle, Obama’s stellar example of “green jobs initiative”?
The Obama administration has piled regulations on business at an unprecedented rate, leaving prior presidents in the dust. The result is a wet-blanket business climate that now paralyzes CEOs into inaction, afraid to expand or hire because no one knows what an uncertain future holds. Ten trillion dollars sit on the sidelines in America because business owners do not trust Obama’s future plans.
Obama has inspired hostile behavior between business management and labor unions, perhaps exemplified best by the actions of his National Labor Relations Board, which had the gall to tell Boeing in which state it could and could not build a new manufacturing plant.
In 2010, two reputable national business groups responded to a challenge by Obama, presenting him with a 53-page list of regulations and rules that were damaging businesses and undermining employment. There was no response from the president, only an acknowledgment of the work.
Promoting business and small government runs counter to everything Obama’s bureaucrats fought for in the last four years. This is an anti-business president with no former CEOs in his Cabinet and few people with business backgrounds anywhere in his administration. Combine this with his appointment of various regulatory czars operating under executive order, who fine businesses for a geometrically expanding list of concocted violations. The result is a poisoned marketplace and a business climate that makes prosperity difficult.
We do not need a Secretary of Business. We need a president who understands the critical role business, commerce and free enterprise play in creating a successful society. The 2008 financial crisis has waned. The crisis now is Obama’s war against business and a non-recovering economy that exposes his false promises of four years ago.