Conservative Political Commentary

...anti-socialist, anti-globalist, and usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is Obama Anti-Business? You Have To Ask?

The White House has been involved in an effort to refute claims that the President and his administration are anti-business. Their attempts to counter this idea are not convincing, in view of the fact that Mr. Obama has been emphatically pro-big-government and anti-big-and-small-business for lo these many years.

Just recall his campaign speeches where he and Mrs. Obama repeatedly compared the “corporate world” very unfavorably to the “public service” world of government and non-profits. Consider Michelle Obama’s words as reported by American Spectator:


“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we're asking young people to do,” Mrs. Obama told a group of women in Zanesville, Ohio. “Don't go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” [1]


So this and other speeches illustrate the Obamas’ personal anti-business prejudice. This is brought out further in policies and policy recommendations from the White House. For instance, Obama suggested that student loans be forgiven after twenty years, and after ten years for people going into “public service.” Curious, considering that government workers usually have higher pay and better job security than their private-sector counterparts. [2]

Obama and his Administration are serious practicing anti-capitalists:


Before you take the White House's sudden conversion [trying to counter the idea that they are anti-business] at face value, let's recall that Obama's Cabinet choices had the lowest percentage of private sector appointees in modern history. This is an administration of community activists, ivory tower academics, trust fund babies, and NGOers. Almost all of whom are socialized to be anti-business. [3]

While the President gives lip service to the idea that government wants business to succeed, there are several important and obvious things that he and his advisers must know are hindering our economy. First, the element of uncertainty. Some banks and businesses are sitting on large amounts of cash, which could be used to expand and hire, but isn’t, because of such things as the Obamacare law, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and the threat of cap-and-tax plus the impending financial regulatory changes, and perhaps VAT. All these thing are likely to be detrimental and very costly to business, and until things clear up, there won’t be much of a recovery. The Administration knows this well, but doesn’t care. They want these fascist programs in place above all other considerations.

Voters are beginning to realize this. They are suffering the effects of near-Depression-level unemployment rates and a looming double dip recession. Meanwhile, the White House is working on ways to tax everyone more and more, play the race card at every opportunity, make everyone as dependent as possible on government by taking away their ability to earn and save, while telling them how much salt they can have on their foods and how much CO-2 they can emit. The cumulative effect of this massive boatload of government misfeasance will come back to haunt the Democrats in November. As Clinton said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” And, of course a few other issues like the Constitution and liberty.

From Politico:

[Obama] aides also take the business backlash seriously as both a political and substantive problem. A lack of business confidence, they fear, may inhibit the recovery. [White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel has warned colleagues of this spring’s “G factor”—a convergence of bad news from the Gulf Coast oil spill, Greece’s financial problems, Germany’s agitating for fiscal austerity at a time when demand in Europe’s economy remains weak, and a new season of political instability in Gaza—has spooked many business leaders at a time when they were otherwise ready to hire and invest. [4]


As though Obama has the right responses to these things:

Oil spill – Obama makes a bad situation worse by shutting down thousands of drilling rigs and idling thousands of workers. Meanwhile foreign drilling operations in the Gulf continue as usual. One spill among thousands of wells does not justify shutting them all down.

Greece – The President is on board with the European Central Bank and IMF bailout of Greece, and at the same time leading America down the same path: massive unpayable debt, big pay and benefits for government unions, and general fiscal irresponsibility. The Administration seems to have taken to heart Keynes’ statement, “In the long run, we’re all dead,” having adopted a devil-may-care attitude about debt and our future, albeit trying to gain some cover with his Debt Commission, which will eventually be used to try to force the VAT on America.

Germany agitating for fiscal austerity – Those rascals, just when, Obama thinks, they should be spending more and more. How dare they try to even look like they’re concerned about the ballooning debt? The nerve! If they’ve observed our “stimulus” at all, they should know that it has done much harm and no good. Their results would be the same.

Gaza – Obama’s rude treatment of Israel doesn’t help the situation. Nor does putting millions of dollars in the hands of Hamas.

The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell blog quotes Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg’s complaint that the Administration has injected so much uncertainty into the marketplace that it’s difficult to raise capital and start new businesses, and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s reported remark that “business did not like the U.S. President [Obama] and the president did not like business.” [5]

Under President Obama, that [“runaway train”] intervention [in the marketplace] began with an $862 billion stimulus, and it was joined by a failed Cash for Clunkers program, a government takeover of the domestic auto industry, a bailout of Fannie and Freddie that may hit $1 trillion, a visceral attack on private sector compensation, a government takeover of health care and, now, financial regulation reform which is said to be riddled with unintended consequences. What next? Cap-and-trade hangs heavily on the horizon, as does the prospect of a value added tax, which Heritage’s J.D. Foster says will “recast the nation into a full state of dependency on Washington.” [6]

But the Administration is not “anti-business” when they can threaten and arm-twist businesses into cutting special deals giving the government more control, Businesses want to be in a good position with the government, and sometimes feel they must go along or suffer punishment. It should be axiomatic that most economic abuses from the private sector, other than plain criminal activity, involve collusion with government. This can also be said of labor unions. To a large extent, unions are collecting political payoffs from the Obama Administration in the form of legislation giving them more power than they would have in a free-market environment.

We can say that Obama is anti-business, which he is, but he is mostly anti-free-market. He’s OK with business as long as he’s calling the shots, whether through ownership or regulation. The business environment he likes is akin to fascist corporatism, which seeks to get all industries working to benefit the state (i.e., in harmony with the state’s great program), whether or not the government takes title to them. In the name of dealing with financial crises and creating jobs, he has supported government interference and manipulation in the markets that has not helped with jobs, nor with finances. Obama’s policies have damaged the economy (as could have been – and was – predicted), but have supported his fascist-socialist vision.

Rush Limbaugh said:


To claim to be pro-growth while simultaneously working to overturn a court order that reverses your moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, to claim to be pro-growth while simultaneously refusing to extend the Bush tax cuts, that is carefully calculated anti-growth behavior. What we have here is carefully structured, calculated anti-growth policies. Not the accidental mistakes of some poor, overmatched, befuddled young man who for the first time is encountering reality to go along with his flawed theory. Anybody with a brain knows there can't be real growth if you shut down oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and if you start raising taxes on everything that speaks, walks, or moves -- and then add new regulations to punish people on top of that.… [7]


To which I would add: If you don’t know whether Obama is anti-business or not, just read the news. It’s not hard to tell.


[1] Ralph R. Reiland, “Obama’s Anti-Business Prejudice,” 02/16/2010. American Spectator.


[2] Ibid.

[3] Mike Myers, “Is Obama Anti-Business?” 07/08/2010, Professor Bainbridge.


[4] Ben White, “W.H. works to flip anti-business rep,” 07/08/2010, Politico.


[5] Mike Brownfield, “Morning Bell: Anti-Business Obama,” 07/09/2010, The Heritage Foundation.


[6] Ibid.

[7] Rush Limbaugh, radio transcript, “Regime Claim: We’re Pro-Business,” 07/09/2010, RushLimbaugh.com.

Photo: Dreamstime.com.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

(Non) Governing Style

The Obama Cabinet.Image via Wikipedia
President Barack Obama’s idea of governing is: He provides the “vision” and his appointed experts and czars, and his political allies in Congress, the unions, etc., make it happen.

To get the economy moving, he urged a “stimulus” of $800 billion. Results? Nothing much. When a lot of attention became focused on unemployment as it reached near 10%, he called a “summit” to brainstorm ways to reduce unemployment. Results? None to speak of. When Iran refused to interrupt their nuclear program, he tried to get sanctions. Result? No change.

When Israel began construction of an apartment house in Jerusalem, Obama blew the incident into an international crisis of sorts. Palestinian leaders called on him to “impose” a peace agreement, something he still may be considering. Anyway, to him, Israel is nothing special, and he may view that nation as simply a problem. If so, it’s big mistake.

When he can’t figure out how to deal with international terrorism or international finance, he calls for a “new international order.” Maybe other world leaders can solve our problems. When his unwillingness to secure the Mexican border results in trouble for border states, he plays the race card and condemns Arizona’s reasonable attempt to defend themselves from the flood of people entering their state illegally, some to smuggle drugs and people. He wants the borders as porous as possible so he can arrange for more Democratic votes by promising the illegals government benefits and eventual amnesty.

When Tea Party protesters became too vocal at last summer’s town hall meetings on health care, Obama called out SEIU thugs to assault and intimidate people, although there had been no violence until these union members created it. Obama didn’t know, nor did his congressional friends know, how to explain the health care bill, because no one knew what would eventually be in it. Now that it’s passed, 65% of Americans want it repealed. Congressmen and Obama himself still don’t know what’s in it.

The point is, we’re seeing the results of electing as president a man of no executive experience who is now demonstrating his inability to govern effectively. How can he run a country when he has never run anything? The great voter rejection of his spending, health care and tax policies has been taken by some as a sign that America is becoming “ungovernable.” The problem is not ungovernability, the problem is poor leadership. The elitist “decision makers” are socialists, ’60’s hippies, and even some avowed communists who, along with the president, wish to force their “Progressive,” i.e. radical left-wing, views upon a nation that is fundamentally conservative.

They have awakened the silent majority. People who normally have little interest in the day to day workings of government and politics, now find that they must take an interest in it simply because their freedom is in danger. Now the government wants to control not only health care and the auto and banking industries, they want to control our daily diet and our energy usage as well. Enter restrictions on salt and bacon, not to mention the already approved rules making incandescent standard light bulbs illegal soon.

Dave Barry once wrote something to the effect that a government agency that has taken to regulating the size of toilet tanks is not needed and ought to be put to work at some kind of real job. (These regulations could possibly be blamed on G.W. Bush, or would it be Clinton?) Barry even made the satiric suggestion that the U.S. go to war against Canada over the issue of toilet smuggling. I would say that a government agency (such as Congress) that has taken to regulating light bulb use should forget such foolishness and simply take an extended vacation. The less they do, the better. And we’ve yet to see the Obama Administration’s new EPA and HHS regulations on CO-2.

The congressional majority is mostly there to enact and rubber-stamp Obama’s fascist-socialist agenda, which takes priority over all else with this administration. After the November elections, they’ll probably wonder why they didn’t do so well, and will probably say it’s because they didn’t get their message out. The truth will be that they didn’t do so well because they did get their message out. It’s just harder to disguise it these days.

Obama and his allies are willing to compromise American security (open borders) and sovereignty (“new international order”) to achieve their goals. The president seems to recognize few if any allies (Israel and the U.K., for instance), yet treats our actual adversaries as friends, e.g. Hugo Chavez.

These things illustrate the expert leadership that has been brought to bear on the BP Gulf oil spill: Reject international offers of assistance, claim to have been on the job there since day one, albeit silently for weeks, and look for the some asses to kick. Inspirational, eh? Oh, and don’t forget to put more thousands out of work by a moratorium on all offshore drilling.

With leadership like this, we are in some trouble. Looks like it will be the Tea Party, libertarians, and non-RINO Republicans to the rescue in November. One can hope.


Photo: Obama cabinet

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

President Obama’s Immigration Policy Would Endanger American Sovereignty

Somebody's Little GirlImage by Thomas Hawk via Flickr
On July 1, 2010, President Barack Obama made what might be considered an important speech on the issue of illegal immigration. In the speech, made at American University, he asked for Republican support for “comprehensive immigration reform,” or, as some would characterize it, amnesty.

He made some good points, but in stating his view of the matter, he appeared to characterize other positions as material for demagoguery or a refusal to “move forward.” He affirms the responsibility of the government to secure the borders, and at the same time declares the job impossible and the laws unenforceable. In his view, we need to just focus on drugs and terrorists, etc. at the border, and not other people.

This is just short of giving up on American sovereignty. Just come, one and all, and we’ll put you on the path to legality and ultimate citizenship. We can’t deport you, there are just too many. I have put some of his words in bold and my comments not in bold:

… In recent days, the issue of immigration has become once more a source of fresh contention in our country, with the passage of a controversial law in Arizona and the heated reactions we’ve seen across America. Some have rallied behind this new policy. Others have protested and launched boycotts of the state. And everywhere, people have expressed frustration with a system that seems fundamentally broken….

Among those lining up against the state of Arizona, we find the Obama Administration, with their threats of legal action. The federal government refuses to do their job, so the state must do it for their own protection.

Citing immigrants from the past, Obama said,
These [immigrant] … men and women … remind us that immigrants have always helped to build and defend this country -– and that being an American is not a matter of blood or birth. It’s a matter of faith. It’s a matter of fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear. That’s what makes us unique. That’s what makes us strong. Anybody can help us write the next great chapter in our history.…

Everyone agrees that America is mostly a nation of immigrants, but the words of the Constitution make clear that American citizenship is a matter of blood and birth. See the 14th Amendment. Obama wants as many foreigners as possible to come to the U.S. and become Democrat voters, welfare clients, and union members.

….To begin with, our borders have been porous for decades. Obviously, the problem is greatest along our Southern border, but it’s not restricted to that part of the country. In fact, because we don’t do a very good job of tracking who comes in and out of the country as visitors, large numbers avoid immigration laws simply by overstaying their visas.

In other words, we aren’t doing our job. Law enforcement is the job of the Executive. When Obama declares that the borders cannot be secured and that the immigration laws are unenforceable, he is repudiating his responsibility and headed toward abdicating American sovereignty. The borders can and must be controlled. That doesn’t mean that no one will ever get in illegally, but it does mean that the occasional illegal should be the rare exception, not the rule.

The result is an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The overwhelming majority of these men and women are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their children….

This problem is not Obama’s fault, but he, like Bush, has failed to deal with it responsibly, Obama even to the point of castigating Arizona for trying to actually do something about the problem of being overrun with illegals, some of whom bring drugs, crime and violence.

More fundamentally, the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process of immigrating legally….

Quite true. And, as the President says, there needs to be an overhaul of the legal immigration system. This need not lower the standards, it should just improve the process.

…. And now, under the pressures of partisanship and election-year politics, many of the 11 Republican senators who voted for reform in the past have now backed away from their previous support.


Into this breach, states like Arizona have decided to take matters into their own hands. Given the levels of frustration across the country, this is understandable. But it is also ill conceived. And it’s not just that the law Arizona passed is divisive -– although it has fanned the flames of an already contentious debate. Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable. It puts pressure on already hard-strapped state and local budgets. It makes it difficult for people here illegally to report crimes -– driving a wedge between communities and law enforcement, making our streets more dangerous and the jobs of our police officers more difficult….

Arizona’s law reflects almost verbatim federal law. To say it’s unenforceable means “I don’t want you to try to enforce it.” What puts a strain on the state’s budget is not this law, but the fact of an uncontrolled influx of people entering the U.S. illegally. Of course, if the federal government would contribute more to the law enforcement effort, this problem for the state would be alleviated. But when it’s announced that people detained under the Arizona law may not be processed by federal authorities, we get an indication of the Administration’s lack of desire to enforce the law.

These laws also have the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound....

Here is the straw man the liberals have constructed to use against Arizona. The law specifically forbids stopping and questioning people about their status except in connection with circumstances where they would have been stopped and questioned anyway for other reasons. If actual abuse occurred, it could be dealt with in court.

And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country -– a patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed.

The “national standard” is currently defined in federal law, which is too much ignored, and which the Administration doesn’t like to enforce. Border Patrol agents do a great job on a problem too big for them to handle. If the border is “secure,” we’d hate to see it when it wasn’t secure. If the federal government would fulfill its responsibilities, states would not need to bother enacting their own laws.

Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship. And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.

Correct.

[T]he majority of Americans are skeptical … that it is possible to round up and deport 11 million people. They know it’s not possible. Such an effort would be logistically impossible and wildly expensive. Moreover, it would tear at the very fabric of this nation -– because immigrants who are here illegally are now intricately woven into that fabric. Many have children who are American citizens.... [E]ven if it was possible, a program of mass deportations would disrupt our economy and communities in ways that most Americans would find intolerable.

It wouldn’t be impossible to deport criminals. And to announce that we're not going to deport illegal immigrants simply emboldens more people to enter America in defiance of the law.

Today, we have more boots on the ground near the Southwest border than at any time in our history....


…The southern border is more secure today than at any time in the past 20 years. That doesn’t mean we don’t have more work to do…

See comments above.

[T]here are those who argue that we should not move forward with any other elements of reform until we have fully sealed our borders. But our borders are just too vast for us to be able to solve the problem only with fences and border patrols. It won’t work. Our borders will not be secure as long as our limited resources are devoted to not only stopping gangs and potential terrorists, but also the hundreds of thousands who attempt to cross each year simply to find work.

Or, “We don’t want to do that job because it’s just too hard.” In fact, fences and border patrols can go a long way toward border enforcement. To say that it can’t be done is simply irresponsible and a repudiation of a clear duty. Senator John McCain, an early proponent of “immigration reform,” came to realize that border security is what people expect before other issues are dealt with, and he saw it correctly as a political reality. That doesn’t make it wrong.

That’s why businesses must be held accountable if they break the law by deliberately hiring and exploiting undocumented workers....

O.K. Is that being done now?

Finally, we have to demand responsibility from people living here illegally. They must be required to admit that they broke the law. They should be required to register, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English. They must get right with the law before they can get in line and earn their citizenship….

After we’ve secured the borders, put a workable program in place.

So we’ve made progress. I’m ready to move forward; the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward; and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem. Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes. That is the political and mathematical reality….

Yes, it’s those obstructionist Republicans that aren’t ready to “move forward.” The American people in general, 60% of whom support the Arizona law, aren’t ready to “move forward” with “comprehensive reform” either until the borders are secure. Here’s hoping the Republicans will stand their ground.

And, yes, this is an emotional question, and one that lends itself to demagoguery. Time and again, this issue has been used to divide and inflame -– and to demonize people….

The demagogues and demonizers, for Obama, being those who object to leaving the borders porous and who insist on enforcement of the law before dealing with changing the status of people who are in the U.S. illegally.

But I believe we can put politics aside and finally have an immigration system that’s accountable. I believe we can appeal not to people’s fears but to their hopes, to their highest ideals, because that’s who we are as Americans….

It’s liberals, and the Obama Administration in particular, who politicize everything. There is no chance of putting “politics” aside. What is really wanted is to put the wishes of the American people aside, as was done with the “health care reform.”

It’s not a matter of appealing to “hopes” vs. “fears.” It’s a matter of dealing with reality.


Quotations from the President’s speech are from transcript found at whitehouse.gov.
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