An interesting shift is taking place in the way President Obama’s administration is being talked about when it comes to fiscal policy.
At first, we had the “Blame George. W. Bush for everything,” approach.
Then, when the stimulus failed to keep the promises made by Obama about stemming the tide of unemployment, it was the “Give it time,” approach.
More and more, as the economy struggles and slogs along, unemployment remains unacceptably high and the Euro-zone is in shambles, we’ve moved to “Well, the president doesn’t have that much power when it comes to the economy.”
This latest approach is being used not just to defend Obama, but attack Mitt Romney’s supposed plan to slash unemployment by 2016.
The Wall Street Journal’s ‘Smart Money’ section on its website supported this helpless president notion to some degree by adding it to the list of things you’ll never hear a president say.
To be fair, the article says there are some factors outside of the president’s control.
We know this to be true. If there weren’t, we’d have some sort of heinous socialist state and capitalism would be dead.
I’ve often used a football analogy to describe the president when it comes to the economy. The president is like the quarterback, he gets too much credit when the team wins and too much blame when the team loses.
The answer, like most political quandaries, lies somewhere in between.
With that being said, I think what we need to recognize is that the government has considerably more power to inhibit business growth and job creation than it does to spur it.
You can put more money into the hands of people, but you can’t make them spend it on investment and growth-related projects.
On the other hand, restrictive policy can have a devastating effect on business, hamstringing companies from putting pro-growth policies in place.
So when you wonder why Mitt Romney is talking about being able to take the unemployment figures and cut them by at least 25% by the end of his first term just by “being a Republican,” consider that the burdens placed on business during the Obama administration have become so restricted and so punitive, that simply repealing a host of Obama policies should be good enough to drive economic growth forward.
Romney’s economic plan is exhaustive, much larger than the average president might lay out simply because a nuanced argument is hard to present to the American people (we have a short attention span and most people just wouldn’t get it anyway).
On the other hand, he wants to cut corporate taxes, remove the shield from labor unions, lower taxes overall, reduce the deficit by spending less, and repeal or alter nearly every business-related policy implemented by Obama over the last three plus years.
Let me use a simple example to show you why just repealing Obama’s failed policies, including ObamaCare, could spur considerable growth.
One of Obama’s monarchical decrees, was to create a law that prevented Boeing from moving a plant to South Carolina.
The problem was allegedly about union labor. It had become too expensive for Boeing and they wanted to relocate in a right-to-work state (something Romney also says he would support).
At it’s core, the government prevented a company from investing in a community because a business felt it’s old strategy was too costly.
Hundreds of people lost out on the opportunity to be employed because the liberal administration wanted to protect high-paying union
campaign dollars jobs.
That’s exactly the kind of meddling into the private sector that has authored the stagnation of the U.S. recovery.
No, President Obama can’t help what happened in 2008 with the housing collapse, but President Bush couldn’t help that either, nor could he help that the majority of the Clinton-era growth was predicated on a tech boom that burst as Bush took office.
Those markets the president can’t control. But placing restrictive and invasive policies on businesses, inhibiting their ability to grow, is the best way to kill jobs and slow down our financial growth as a nation.
Romney is right to say just having a Republican in office could be a huge boost to the economy because companies see what it means to be controlled by a liberal authoritarian regime.