While Nouriel Roubini or Jeremy Grantham can be counted on to deliver prophecies of doom dressed up in the dismal prose of the economics profession, the original doomsayer—the prophet Jeremiah—expressed himself far more vividly, and his poetry speaks to our times:
“The harvest has passed, the summer has ended, but we have not been saved.”
As the final summer of President Obama’s first term concludes, I will venture to say that his economic policies have not saved us. And that is because slim pickings are the predictable result of a policy of vast government expansion, as the example of Europe has taught us.
The president has operated under the theory that massive spending will grease the economy, while tougher regulation will rein in economic malefactors. Instead, the spending seems to have signaled higher future taxation, which would reduce business profitability, and the regulatory boost has meant higher costs to business and tougher competition vis-à-vis established firms.
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The upshot of Obamanomics is well encapsulated by the president’s now infamous campaign gaffe: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The statement is partially true. We all owe a debt to a great many others who have participated in our success. However, if the economy is to thrive, we must congratulate and celebrate those like the appropriately named Steve Jobs who actually do make it happen.
Some readers may see in this editor’s letter a sinister Republican plot. But it is not. Official unemployment is 8.3%; the Labor Department’s broadest measure of joblessness, including discouraged workers, is 15%. That is failure.