Obama to push for a "secretary of business" in a second term?

In an interview with MSNBC this morning, President Obama owned up to some vague plans to grow the federal bureaucracy even more by creating a new “secretary of business” position in the executive branch. Via The Hill:

In an interview with MSNBC, the president said he wants to consolidate a number of business and trade-related agencies, creating a “one-stop shop” for oversight.

“I’ve said that I want to consolidate a whole bunch of government agencies. We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA [the Small Business Administration] or helping companies with exports,” he said in an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brezezinski and Joe Scarborough.

No — a thousand times, no. As much as Democrats like to aggressively peddle the line that “Mitt Romney wants to take us back to the policies that got us here in the first place,” as if tax cuts and deregulation were somehow the prime movers of the financial crisis, the fact is that too much big government is what really got us here. Operating off of political motives, the feds creating adverse incentives and convoluting free-market signals were the recession’s greatest catalysts, and Obama’s biggest overstep into the business world so far with Dodd-Frank is already inducing mega-uncertainty and depressing private investment. But heck, by all means, let’s just keep right on piling up the bureaucracy and engendering even more mechanisms for the federal government to stick its nose into private business. What could go wrong?

Uhm, a lot, actually, as Veronique de Rugy points out at National Review:

In the aftermath of the Solyndra scandal and the attention that it brought to cronyism, the president’s “Secretary of Business” ideal is just another way to give a new lease on life to corporate welfare. Think about it: The thing these agencies have in common is that their main goal is to deliver taxpayer dollars to the private sector. …

I think it is very possible that consolidating all the programs that grant privileges to a selected few could end up institutionalizing cronyism — or the unhealthy marriage between the private sector and government — more than it already is. Basically, this consolidation could make the job of lobbyists even easier. Whatever your private interest, in order to get government money, you would only have to make one stop instead of nine.

Hmm… remind me, what was it that President Obama said about putting an end to “business as usual” when he got to the White House? Anyone?

This is nothing more than the latest in a series of proposals and policies that make a roundabout attack on the symptoms and blame free enterprise, instead of addressing the real disease that is big government. The Romney campaign had an apt response:

“We don’t need a ‘secretary of business.’ We need a new president who actually understands business and won’t punish it with the job-killing regulations that have been imposed by the Obama administration,” said Ryan Williams, a campaign spokesman. “Mitt Romney spent his career in the private sector as a successful businessman, and as president he will promote pro-growth policies that will create jobs, help small business and strengthen the middle class.”

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