Is Obama sinking American business?

posted at 10:45 am on September 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

So says Investors Business Daily after yesterday’s steep market drop.  In their lead editorial, IBD puts the onus for stagnation and the inexorable slide back into stagnation squarely at the feet of Barack Obama and his economic policies.  In fact, they list seven areas in which Obama is not just passively inept but actively hostile to American business and capital:

• Failed Fed policy. For three years, we’ve kept interest rates at record lows, undergone two rounds of quantitative easing and created $2 trillion in new money. On Wednesday the Fed announced its next move: the $400 billion “Operation Twist” — modeled on a failed Fed bond-buying program from the ’60s to push down long-term interest rates. With so much Fed meddling, the markets can’t help but be confused.

• Growing federal debt. In the European Union, debt-to-GDP ratios have hit an economy-crippling 140%. Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain all verge on default. But we have nothing to be smug about.  U.S. debt of $14.5 trillion already tops 100% of GDP, a level economists believe saps a nation’s economic vitality. At the rate we’re racking up deficits — $4 trillion in just three years — we’ll soon join the EU in perpetual economic stagnation.

• Unstimulating stimulus. Faced with the clear failure of his previous stimulus, which wasted $840 billion, the president’s new plan spends another $457 billion and imposes massive new taxes on the middle class, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Some 1.9 million new jobs will be created, the president reckons. In fact, jobs will be destroyed.

• Class warfare. The president relentlessly attacks “millionaires and billionaires,” aided by the mainstream media’s penchant for repeating his factually challenged assertions about who pays our taxes. In pushing the new “Buffett Rule” to raise taxes on the rich, the president absurdly claims that millionaires pay less in taxes than their secretaries.

But as blogger Noel Sheppard notes, IRS data disprove this canard: 99.6% of those earning above $1 million pay taxes at a higher tax rate than secretaries. And just over 200,000 wealthy taxpayers pay 20% of all federal income taxes. These are the very people who create new businesses and jobs.

• Anti-business bias. The president’s war on small business and entrepreneurs has devastated American job creation, once the envy of the world. A House committee estimates more than half the taxes under the new “stimulus” will be paid by small businesses.

Refusing to sign an already negotiated free-trade bill, proposing onerous new taxes and regulations, and pursuing a money-wasting and corrupt “green jobs” strategy are leaving a wake of economic destruction.

• Regulatory siege. Federal regulation costs America $1.8 trillion a year — or roughly 13% of all our output. Whether it’s the Environmental Protection Agency requiring power plants to shut down and others to be retrofitted with costly new equipment, or the National Labor Relations Board telling companies like Boeing where they can and cannot locate new facilities, or a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, or foot-dragging on the construction of a new pipeline from Canada that could boost U.S. energy security and lower prices, the government is a barrier to growth.

• ObamaCare. An estimated 4% of the U.S. chronically lacks health insurance — a serious, but manageable problem. Rather than address the real problem, the president and his allies in the Democrat-controlled Congress took over 17% of our economy. Now we’re stuck with a health care program that studies show will provide lower-quality care at a cost of as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.

I’d actually give Obama a pass on the first bullet point, and a share of the second.  Obama didn’t appoint Ben Bernanke and doesn’t have any formal influence over the Fed’s actions.  However, the Fed pursued the QE2 strategy and is now shifting to the “twist” in part because the Obama administration hasn’t offered any useful economic policies to propel growth.  Bernanke can’t help by making money any cheaper — monetary policy is as loose as it can be short of a Weimar Republic approach.  On debt, Obama has more culpability but has to share that with Congress, which actually writes and passes the budgets.  We’ve been outspending our income for decades, and while the Democrats made the problem almost exponentially worse, Obama didn’t do that by himself.

The rest of this explains why Bernanke has to resort to gimmicky tricks to keep deflation at bay.  Obama’s stimulus plan flopped so badly that apparently he feels the need for a do-over, and he’s attacking capital holders in deed and in rhetoric to pay for it.  In what universe exactly does that promote investment and economic growth?  (Answer: Harvard.)  ObamaCare is part of a deliberate policy of regulatory adventurism intended on imposing the parts of the Obama agenda that don’t have a prayer in passing Congress, and all of this adds up to a deep hostility to private markets, capital, and economic freedom.

In short, when we most need a Hayek in the Oval Office, we have a hack instead.

IBD editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez puts the issue in brilliant one-panel perspective:

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.

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Comments

I think the waving hand should have an extended middle finger to be appropriate.

The War Planner on September 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM

On Jimmy Kimmel’s show the other night they did a funny bit about the Mongolian president (the guy whose face was obscured), talking about his life and accomplishments, accompanied by numerous photos, all of them with someone’s hand PShopped over the guy’s face.

Ward Cleaver on September 23, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Do you mean “on purpose,” as in deliberately?

” Is Obama sinking American business on purpose?”

marybel on September 23, 2011 at 10:54 AM

monetary policy is as loose as it can be short of a Weimar Republic approach.

And that ended so well. . .

rbj on September 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Obama didn’t appoint Ben Bernanke…

Yes he did, at least he reappointed him:

President Obama will reappoint Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, administration officials said Monday night, electing to maintain continuity in the nation’s most powerful economic policymaking job in a time of crisis.

Weight of Glory on September 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM

A better headline would be “Why is obama sinking American business?”

chicken thief on September 23, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Gotta love them ears.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

With all due respect to Ramirez, I liked my quote for the group pic better.

Raise your hand if youl’d ‘Rather be Golfing’!

DrW on September 23, 2011 at 11:01 AM

A given on some things, but let’s be honest. Obama is deliberately doing what he’s doing. He’s destroying that which he hates.

I find it incredible that there is still questions, and doubts to this. As far as I know, Gingrich was the only candidate with the fortitude to say yes…Obama is a socialist. I’ll go one better. He’s a marxist.

capejasmine on September 23, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Is Obama sinking American Business? Umm, Duh. I dont buy into the premise he is inept and doesn’t know what he is doing. That Administration knows exactly what their doing.

Static21 on September 23, 2011 at 11:04 AM

The Fundamental Transformation of America.

Have any “independent” Obama supporters ever asked themselves, based on Obama’s actions thus far, what exactly are the “fundamentals” of this country that he is in the process of “transforming?”

visions on September 23, 2011 at 11:06 AM

As much as I loathe the Chinese government I can tell you they are doing a better job at being capitalists and job creators than Obama and this admin.

Its a sad day communists are moving to captilism while we march lockstep towards socialism..all for equal outcome..

theblacksheepwasright on September 23, 2011 at 11:08 AM

No, No, No. What is sinking American business is “gridlock in Washington”! It’s obvious that if the Democrats do not control all branches of Government, nothing can get done!

Why didn’t you people read today’s DNC memo? NPR is reading it on air right now, just like they are supposed to.

drunyan8315 on September 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Gotta love them ears.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Indeed, but why are they coming out of his neck? Does Ramirez always draw him this way. If so, I hadn’t noticed.

SKYFOX on September 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

I like to look at the bright side: at least we’re not getting all the government we actually pay for. How many faceless, wormy, gray-flannel-suited bureaucrats and surly, sullen, clerk types would Solyndra’s $500MM have paid for?

mr.blacksheep on September 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Ot: msdnc finally talking about solyndra but making sure dear leader is not at fault whatsoever…..cover up big time continues

cmsinaz on September 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Why in the world have we twisted the healthcare system into a pretzel for 4% of the population? We’re doing it wrong.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Is Obama sinking American business?

That depends on what the meaning of is is.He (has)sunk American business.

docflash on September 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Indeed, but why are they coming out of his neck? Does Ramirez always draw him this way. If so, I hadn’t noticed.

SKYFOX on September 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Notice that obama is a toothpick character compared to the rest of the drawing.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM

I don’t care. Obama is awesome.

BobMbx on September 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Gotta love them ears.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Ferengi ears.

Electrongod on September 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

cover up big time continues

cmsinaz on September 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM

If you call 200 viewers big time, then yes. Yes it does.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

The Fundamental Transformation of America……

…..will not happen as long as I am breathing and have a supply of ammo.

BobMbx on September 23, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Yes.

Next question.

Washington Nearsider on September 23, 2011 at 11:18 AM

If you call 200 viewers big time, then yes. Yes it does.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Tonight, Maddow will refer to this as “dominating” support.

BobMbx on September 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Is the Pope Catholic? Obama suffers from the liberal disease of adhering to his own vision come hell or high water. He has a liberal vision that is so wonderful that we’re just supposed to follow him like the Pied Piper. He doesn’t understand the power and value of letting others (i.e. business) have the chance to dream, plan, and then pursue their own vision of prosperity. Obama has doubled down on Utopia (ObamaCare, social safety net, regulation, taxes) — he’s not going to shift gears. Not now, not ever.

Paul-Cincy on September 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I actually met the guy who watches MSNBC in a bar in Albany. He said he watched it because he didn’t get “Comedy Central”.

mr.blacksheep on September 23, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I ROFL’ed at the cartoon but then I remembered the long arm of AttackWatch.

I don’t want to get dragged away by union goons while I enjoy this cup of cof

Bishop on September 23, 2011 at 11:24 AM

“I’d actually give Obama a pass on the first bullet point, and a share of the second. Obama didn’t appoint Ben Bernanke and doesn’t have any formal influence over the Fed’s actions.”

Come on, Ed, you can’t be serious. Why do you think Bernanke has committed to keeping rates down until 2013?

ncjetsfan on September 23, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Fundamentally changing America…oh yeah!

d1carter on September 23, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Lol lance :)

You’re right, at least they are saying the word

cmsinaz on September 23, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Until the MSM picks up on this stuff, the masses will remain clueless. And the MSM isn’t going to pick up on this.

krome on September 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Marxists in the White House, Bloshivicks in the wings. . .

Wander on September 23, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Until the MSM picks up on this stuff, the masses will remain clueless. And the MSM isn’t going to pick up on this.

krome on September 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

This. They’re too far in the swamp to be able to back out now. They will burn with him when this all comes crashing down.

Washington Nearsider on September 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM

President Titanic…

Khun Joe on September 23, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Come on, Ed, you can’t be serious. Why do you think Bernanke has committed to keeping rates down until 2013?

ncjetsfan on September 23, 2011 at 11:25 AM

That’s actually more of an indictment of Obamanomics than people realize. Bernanke basically said that there isn’t any hope of recovery at least until 2013.

Ed Morrissey on September 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Uncertainty. Doubt. Changing regulations. The drop in the value of the dollar. A tax system that is growing more complex, not less.

These are the things that make an entrepreneur not hire folks, nor expand business, or even open up a new business.

When the Chairman of the Fed appears to be winging it, it does nothing to build investor and entrepreneur confidence that things will get better. When a treasury Secretary and Commerce Secretary spend most of their time mouthing the words of Obama and telling folks that Obama is the answer, when they are not on overseas junkets telling the rest of the world to adopt austerity, but not us…does that inspire confidence?

What has Obama done to alleviate any of these other than offer vapid condescending words?

Is Obama sinking American business?

Hell, yes, he is.

coldwarrior on September 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Suppose (I know it is a stretch) that Stimulus Part II will work as optimistically as the Hopey-Changey people predict.
BEST CASE jobs will cost $240,526 EACH.

Margee on September 23, 2011 at 12:02 PM

So says an unsourced opinion piece in Investors Business Daily

Fixed that for ya.

Constantine on September 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Yes, obama is fundamentally changing America into (regulated) dust.

tinkerthinker on September 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM

I think the answer is quite obvious. Yes.

Mirimichi on September 23, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Indeed, but why are they coming out of his neck? Does Ramirez always draw him this way. If so, I hadn’t noticed.

SKYFOX on September 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

..cartoon hyperbole.

The War Planner on September 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

The economy of this country will not survive four more years of The One.

GarandFan on September 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Sinking? Yeah, the torpedoes have already got the economy dead in the water as the jobless continue manning the lifeboats. It’s pitiful; the liberal left cannot understand, or are unwilling to understand, that their policies are failures (see European Union) and the liberal press is clueless to enlighten them (see Krugman). November 2012 can’t come soon enough!

Bob in VA on September 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Obama’s stimulus plan flopped so badly that apparently he feels the need for a do-over, and he’s attacking capital holders in deed and in rhetoric to pay for it. In what universe exactly does that promote investment and economic growth? (Answer: Harvard.)

His whole purpose is to extract as much capital for federal use as he can, before the economy collapses due to his policies – then he and his henchmen take over.

So to answer your question, Ed, he does not intend to promote investment and economic growth.

disa on September 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

A better headline would be “Why is obama sinking American business?”

My choice would be:

“Why are americans ALLOWING Obama to sink America?”

And slightly OT, did you happen to see this mornings WSJ regarding the the cost of the regulations THE WON is imposing on business?

oldleprechaun on September 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Yes, without a doubt Obama is deliberately ruining our economy.

CliffHanger on September 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM

A given on some things, but let’s be honest. Obama is deliberately doing what he’s doing. He’s destroying that which he hates.

I find it incredible that there is still questions, and doubts to this. As far as I know, Gingrich was the only candidate with the fortitude to say yes…Obama is a socialist. I’ll go one better. He’s a marxist.

capejasmine on September 23, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I do, too. He basically said so: He wanted to spread the wealth around; he was happy for the government to take in less revenue for purposes of “fairness”; he wanted to “transform” the U.S.; and so on and so on. What on earth did people think he was talking about?

He said it all, then tried to do it all. If that weren’t enough, just read his books, read about his upbringing, read about his church – ANYTHING.

It’s all right there and has been right there all along, and if anyone has known any socialists/communists in real life, you know that’s how they are and the way they think.

I think people are just so reluctant to think anything like this could possibly be – that a President could possibly have such ill intent for the country – that they have denied it, and are still denying it.

Of course, he doesn’t think of what he wants as ill intent. But it is, if people could just face that fact.

Maybe we can get through the next year and a half and everybody can save face and save HIS face, and we’ll go on pretending he was even halfway normal until maybe some history books decades or a century in the future manage to be able to speak the obvious truth.

Alana on September 23, 2011 at 12:56 PM

MEA CULPA! re:oldleprechaun on September 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Sorry, folks. I got my sources crossed up. Don’t know where

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/driven-mad-trucking-industry-collapsing-under-regulation/2/

got their info, but that was article I was thinking of.

oldleprechaun on September 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

• ObamaCare. An estimated 4% of the U.S. chronically lacks health insurance — a serious, but manageable problem. Rather than address the real problem, the president and his allies in the Democrat-controlled Congress took over 17% of our economy. Now we’re stuck with a health care program that studies show will provide lower-quality care at a cost of as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.

Of the ‘uninsured’ that the progs expect us to weep buckets of tears over, a significant minority actually can’t get insurance because of existing conditions. They may share responsibility for that situation by not maintaining insurance before they became ill.

The others are illegal aliens, that we should not reengineer our system of healthcare for, and people that simply don’t want health insurance because they are young and healthy. They are not going to sign up for it because little Bammie signs a bill saying that they must.

The sad tales of the ‘uninsured’ that the progs sell us are a battering ram for socialism.

slickwillie2001 on September 23, 2011 at 1:02 PM

The American economy was barely treading water when Obama took over and he threw it the anchor of ineffective Stimulus and ObamaCare, and someone is asking if he is sinking the economy. Where have they been for the last 2 1/2 years?

txmomof6 on September 23, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Gotta love them ears.

Lanceman on September 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

He’d make a heck of a windsurfer.

slickwillie2001 on September 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Do bears live in the forest? Do fish swim in the ocean?
Everyone knew who this joke was since he hadn’t ever met a pay cheque; paid for someone else’s health care or even ran a lemonaid stand! For crying out loud, I don’t care who comes through the primaries, we have to get behind them (well not Paul, since his foreign policy will never garner any votes when it comes to voting in the general). Please, please let’s stop with the recriminations and get behind our candidate!

Bambi on September 23, 2011 at 1:37 PM

ma didn’t appoint Ben Bernanke and doesn’t have any formal influence over the Fed’s actions.

Question – who does Bernanke work for *now*?

You don’t keep a guy like that for 3 years and shrug your shoulders because the guy before you hired him.

If you don’t fire him, guess what – HE’S YOURS.

WTF, Ed – you HA guys are getting a bit mushy of late.

Midas on September 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

The economy of this country will not survive four ONE more years of The One.

GarandFan on September 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM

FIFY.

Midas on September 23, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Is Obama sinking American business?

Duh.

Pablo Snooze on September 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Yep. But not just him. Him AND his Leftist cronies

KMC1 on September 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Why in the world have we twisted the healthcare system into a pretzel for 4% of the population? We’re doing it wrong.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

It really has little to do with healthcare.

The communist did their best to move to America a national healthcare system like they did in Britain after World War II. They failed, but they have not given up since it repersented their best, if only, option to achieve their goal.

Since 1949 they have been saying that the only way to move the Americans to socialism was through a Nationalized Health Care law. The reason was based on the know fact that Americans, being as we are, would not be able to deny health care to someone who needed it. Obama has obviously had this drilled into him since he was a child by his socialist grandparents, mother, and his mentor, Frank Davis, a communist with connections to Moscow.

Healthcare has a long socialist reach, able to extend government control into every aspect and control of every citizen. As control is extended, capitalist polices would be replaced with socialist polices. Socialist polices always have failed, but socialist believe given suffient resources that it will prove superior to providing a way of life based on social justice and equallity of its citizens.

Socialism is not the final goal, nor will it satisfiy the communist intent. As Marx said, socialism is the transition between capitalism and communisum.

Communism is an economic system in which the govorenment makes all decisions about production and distribution of the goods produced. All property belongs to the government. Citizens recieve only what they need for their postion in the government or as workers for the state.

Obama in a way alluded to this concept in his last speech.
“when we start rebuilding America we’re going to change how business is done. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles…based on two criteria: how badly is a construction project needed, and how much good will it do for the community” Not exactly a direct reference to communism, perhaps closer to his own needs, but very close to how it works, espcially when you think about all his mutterings about ruleling like a king, or with the power of the unquestioned power of a Chinese president, or in his unicorn world, of just being able to wave a “magical wand” and things happen as he wants with no fuss.

His clear distain for the Constitution by his actions and words, his disregard for the binding law it imposes on him, is another indication of his true interest and direction.

Our Constitution establishes a Republic which means power is shared between the people, the states and a federal government. Our Constitution does not Create a Democracy, which means all the power held by a central govenment controlled by elected representatives who in theory vote for the good of the people. A centralized government is a requirement for a socialist government to function. The Constitution has to be replaced, or made irrelevent or ignored as was the original constitution of the old Soviet Union, with the exception of its constitutional clause “seperation of church and state”, which the communist/socialist have insisted is in our constitution so persasively that many believe it is. Obama has paid a lot of attention to how the dictators around the world have handled discontent, election rigging and revolts. He played his hand early in Honduras where he sought, and continues to do so, to disreguarded the rule of law, specifically their constitutional law, to make their congress and supreme court irrelevent, in an attempt to promote a socialist revolution in that country.

Franklyn on September 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Is Obama sinking American business?

Obama is sinking American business.
Why is Obama sinking American business?
Because sinking America is Obama’s business.

RalphyBoy on September 24, 2011 at 1:19 AM