By Liz Peek
Finally, we know what President Obama’s initials stand for! He’s the Boo –HooO president! OK, that’s a little cheesy, but seriously, have we ever had a whinier leader of the free world? Most recently, and quite ungrammatically (it was not scripted into the First Teleprompter), he whined that his opponents “talk about me like a dog”. This doesn’t even make much sense, but is consistent with the woe-is-me tone of this president, who has complained about attacks from the right and the left, and couched nearly every major address with an extreme whine about taking over the White House during tough times. Just for the record, he did want the presidency, right?
All this self-pitying no doubt feeds on sinking poll ratings, and the frustration the president now feels with the American people. They just refuse to applaud his many dazzling accomplishments, and most especially remain stubbornly hostile to Obamacare. What is wrong with these people?
Here’s why Americans have fallen out of love with President Obama: they feel snookered. He has not delivered his promised good faith effort to heal a wounded country. He has not brought transparency to government and he has ignored the priorities of the people. Most important, he has not been truthful with Americans, and they know it.
Most recently he has hit the stump, slipping into campaign mode with the ease of someone putting on worn slippers. He has visited cities hard-hit by the recession, and promised to turn around the economy. With the excitement of a life-long celibate discovering sex, he is focused on job creation – just in time for the elections. He’s all for infrastructure investment and lower taxes on the middle class and developing clean industries. But he is not – repeat NOT –in favor of helping out the “special interests.”
One wonders, who are those “special interests”? Obama never really identifies those blackguards, but he does give clues. In Ohio, Obama chastised those who, over the past decade, “cut regulations for special interests,” and in the same speech derides Representative John Boehner for wanting to “cut more rules for corporations”. It’s pretty clear that it is American corporations who are so undeserving of his assistance.
Further proof: Obama says his proposals “will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton.” See? Big, bad companies are to blame for our sky-high unemployment – not the poor management, blizzard of legislation, record deficits and consequent anxiety inspired by this White House. Obama wants corporations to “live up to their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly and play by the same rules as everyone else.” What rules? The rules governing Congress? Heaven help us!
When Obama told Business Week in February that he’s a “fierce advocate for a thriving, dynamic free market” he means what, exactly? That he’s really, really behind any company that has fewer than maybe 100 workers, and is thus classified as a “small business?” That can’t be right, because he knows full well that his proposed elimination of tax cuts on top earners squarely socks small companies. A study from the American Enterprise Institute, using IRS data, shows that 48% of the “net income of sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations reported on tax returns went to households with incomes about $200,000 in 2007”. So, clearly allowing the top tax rate to rise will harm just those companies he is so quick to embrace.
President Obama seems to be a very confused individual. He says “We were handed a $1.3 trillion deficit when we walked through the door”, but actually the deficit in 2008 was only $455 billion. That figure included the first stimulus package of $300 billion. The deficit in 2007 was $163 billion. He says that Bush “cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires”, but in fact Bush removed 5 million low-income families from the tax roles. The bottom tax rate was 15%; Bush reduced that to 10%. The child tax credit was raised from $600 to $1,000.
Another reality check for Mr. Obama: when he says “I believe government should be lean; government should be efficient” – that’s a worthy goal best reached by starting at the top. Hiring dozens of White House czars that are presumably overseeing turf well trod by regulators does not lead to efficiency. (Did you know the president just appointed an Asian Carp czar—you couldn’t make this stuff up!) Writing legislation like the financial overhaul bill that leaves nearly every tough decision to future studies and rule-makers is not efficient. A budget deficit of $1.6 trillion is not lean.
The truth is that these are hard times. We are in a dreadful recession because public policy encouraged heavy lending to non-credit worthy borrowers in order to fulfill a wrong-headed goal of broadening home ownership. This stupidity was compounded by a reckless use of leverage by those on Wall Street who bundled and bought mortgage securities in ways that made them prone to failure. President Obama is right; there are villains aplenty in the narrative of the past few years, and victims galore. He is wrong, though, to channel his community organizer inner self and turn the country against the business community. Small or large, it is companies that will end our unemployment crisis – not the federal government.
Liz Peek is a financial columnist who writes for The Fiscal Times. For more visit LizPeek.com.