With only controlled and largely favorable interviews remaining before election day, President Obama released his so-called jobs plan. While he spent the last several weeks hammering Mitt Romney for a lack of specifics on his economic proposals, the President chose not to release his “plan” until after the final debate. The document is well crafted and reads as if Obama is the challenger, not the incumbent. His ideas for big government solutions to our current economic problems are largely unchanged from his rhetoric four years ago, leaving us to wonder why we continue to have the same set of problems.
While Obama’s plan is seriously flawed, most of the issues have already been addressed herein. Nonetheless, his entire plan can be debunked by reading the title page:
A NEW ECONOMIC PATRIOTISM: A PLAN FOR JOBS & MIDDLE CLASS SECURITY
First, there is nothing NEW about this proposal. Virtually every issue it covers—from education to job growth to energy—is linked to a new or expanded government program. History is replete with philosophers, politicians, and economists whose solutions to social problems always seem to reside with government intervention and wealth redistribution, not individual initiative and innovation. Obama is simply repackaging the same collectivist ideas of the past.
Second, there is nothing PATRIOTIC about this proposal. The President seems to argue that our economic and social problems could be solved if only “the rich” would sacrifice a little more of their wealth. Patriotism used to be associated with individualism—enjoying life and caring for yourself so that you won’t become a burden to society. In Obama’s world, patriotism is associated with the collective—a transfer of wealth from those who earned it to those who did not by way of government bureaucrats, all in the name of the “common good.”
Finally, government cannot create both JOBS and SECURITY. Jobs are created in the private sector when individuals and firms are free to develop new ideas, products, and services. Economic development creates both opportunities and insecurity as some companies fail or restructure as part of the process. A government committed to “middle-class security,” by definition, must seek to slow down economic activity. This approach assumes that free enterprise is flawed and must be managed by central planners. We’ve tried this for the last four years and the economy is not moving forward.
A good example of the jobs-security problem is the GM bailout. The President’s claim to have saved a million jobs is preposterous because it assumes that GM would have ceased to exist if it had entered a normal bankruptcy without government favors. But even if GM dissolved, its customers would look to other manufacturers to fill the void, and they would need to employ workers just like GM. Instead, Obama chose security and stability. The taxpayers have lost billions, GM remains an inefficient carmaker with a precarious future, and consumers have been denied the improvements in products and services that occur when the government doesn’t pick winners and losers.
There’s a lot more to critique in Obama’s plan, but I think it’s best to focus on the big picture. This election is about the roles, responsibilities and powers of the individual versus the state. The President has clearly staked out his position on the side of the state.