Free Markets, Free People

Stop the war on business

That’s the central theme of a Ken Langone op/ed in the Wall Street Journal. Langone is a co-founder of Home Depot who gives Obama a lecture he’s long deserved. He does a good job of summarizing the absurd rhetoric used by Obama and his administration and the attitude they project that has done nothing to help and everything to hurt the recovery:

Your insistence that your policies are necessary and beneficial to business is utterly at odds with what you and your administration are saying elsewhere. You pick a fight with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing it of using foreign money to influence congressional elections, something the chamber adamantly denies. Your U.S. attorney in New York, Preet Bahrara, compares investment firms to Mexican drug cartels and says he wants the power to wiretap Wall Street when he sees fit. And you drew guffaws of approving laughter with your car-wreck metaphor, recently telling a crowd that those who differ with your approach are "standing up on the road, sipping a Slurpee" while you are "shoving" and "sweating" to fix the broken-down jalopy of state.

That short-sighted wavering—between condescending encouragement one day and hostile disparagement the next—creates uncertainty that, as any investor could tell you, causes economic paralysis. That’s because no one can tell what to expect next.

Again we confront the difference between a politician in a permanent campaign and a leader.  And we see the result.

Obama seems mystified by the role of the president.  He seems not to understand that leaders don’t use the old, divisive and politically charged rhetoric of the campaign trail, but instead have the job of doing (and saying) what is necessary to move things in a positive direction.  That has not been something Obama has done at all when it comes to business.

There’s another point Langone made that is worth featuring:

A little more than 30 years ago, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Pat Farrah and I got together and founded The Home Depot. Our dream was to create (memo to DNC activists: that’s build, not take or coerce) a new kind of home-improvement center catering to do-it-yourselfers. The concept was to have a wide assortment, a high level of service, and the lowest pricing possible.

We opened the front door in 1979, also a time of severe economic slowdown. Yet today, Home Depot is staffed by more than 325,000 dedicated, well-trained, and highly motivated people offering outstanding service and knowledge to millions of consumers.

If we tried to start Home Depot today, under the kind of onerous regulatory controls that you have advocated, it’s a stone cold certainty that our business would never get off the ground, much less thrive. Rules against providing stock options would have prevented us from incentivizing worthy employees in the start-up phase—never mind the incredibly high cost of regulatory compliance overall and mandatory health insurance. Still worse are the ever-rapacious trial lawyers.

Regulations, taxes, compliance and mandates cost businesses billions each year.  That’s billions that aren’t spent on employees, customers, expansion or growth.  And it is especially stupid to increase all of those in a recession – yet that’s precisely what is going on now.  And it keeps the market unsettled and at least defers or may in fact kill any possible action by businesses which may benefit the overall economy.

Obama’s actions and rhetoric are a case study of someone who doesn’t understand his job, doesn’t understand the power of the words he utters (because he doesn’t understand his job) and has been very irresponsible with his rhetoric at a time when the damage that rhetoric can do are compounded by the situation (recession).

OJT is not something a president should be doing – especially in a recession.  And for the supposed “smartest guy in the room”, he sure seems like a slow learner when it comes to his job and the requirements of leadership.



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15 Responses to Stop the war on business

  • This all presumes he’s acting conscientiously, or even attempting to.  I’ve yet to be convinced.  If he were merely incompetent, you might expect him to do something right occasionally, just by accident.

    • I have never believed he was the smartest guy in the room, even if he believed that.  If you actually read those “inspiring” speeches, you could see they were “content free”.  There have been many politicians and dictators over the centuries who could deliver a good speech,  but could not more do the actual job than the man in the moon.
      If Obama were as smart as they would have us believe, why would they never release transcripts and why would they hide the results and records of Obama’s major project, the Annenberg Challenge?  They hid those, and continue to hide them, because Obama is not particularly smart.  I suspect Michelle can run rings around him in that department.
      The ability to give a good speech is not the mark of leader.  Too many great speakers have led their country to rack and ruin.  Hitler comes to mind.  This country is becoming immune to the Obama speaking charms.  As that happens, Obama has nothing to fill in the gaps left behind.

  • OJT is not something a president should be doing – especially in a recession.
    Seems to me that a stint as the head of a private company would have done him some good…

  • What I have never fathomed is how the Left believes all the expense of taxes, regulations, and lawsuits are somehow suppose to only come out of evil business’ vast profits.  It just escapes them that those things are viewed as operating costs and take away from employment, wages, and add to price.
    Then on the other hand, you have to believe they give a damn and really don’t want to create a situation in which socialism seems appealing by damaging the economy.

    • They also believe that regulations will be made by wise technocrats, not the industry being regulated, and that the people who enforce the regulations will be competent.

  • <blockquote>Preet Bahrara, compares investment firms to Mexican drug cartels and says he wants the power to wiretap Wall Street when he sees fit.</blockquote>
    As long as there’s probable cause, why shouldn’t he?

  • just fyi…its spelled role, not roll (“of the president”).
    great post, though. its really disturbing that this man is actually president. were people really charmed by the scumbag? honestly, i don’t understand how anyone didnt see through the smoke and mirrors…its not like it was that difficult…

    • Sure, it is obvious to us, but remember who actually voted for him.  (1) Unions, who have no doubts as to his incompetence but just don’t care. (2) Black people, who have proven over and over that they are bigots who will vote for black crack addicts and mafia over even a dedicated liberal white person. (3) Young people, who by definition are ignorant and easily fooled, (4) Left of center casual voters, who really don’t know much but wanted to end our racial divisions by electing the first black president. (how is that working out?)

    • I suspect that “probable cause” doesn’t mean to Bahrara (or anybody in the regime) what it means to the rest of us.  I’d say that it’s less, “I have some evidence that a crime is been contemplated / committed by the person(s) in question, enough to go to a judge for a warrant for a wiretap” and more, “These people are crooks and I’m gonna get something on ’em.  Warrant???  I don’t need no stinkin’ warrant!”

      Peculiar that the same group of people who had an attack of the vapors over the NSA listening in on foreign conversations now want carte blanche to go after American citizens whose only apparent “crime” is making too much money in a politically incorrect fashion.  And imagine the flap if a Republican DA wanted to wiretap mosques or union bosses  “when he sees fit”!

  • And for the supposed “smartest guy in the room”, he sure seems like a slow learner…

    Well, after all, he does think like Erb. At least, that’s what we’ve been told. Repeatedly.
    Comparing what slow learners they both seem to be, I’d say there’s something to it.