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EDITORIAL: Mind your own business, Obama

Left-wing president favors the collective over individual initiative

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Illustration by Greg Groesch for The Washington Times

President Obama thinks business owners don’t actually do anything. This is the most convincing proof yet that he has no concept of how the economy works.

At a rally in Roanoke, Va., last week, Mr. Obama was trying to justify new tax increases on upper-income Americans by saying that no one in this country makes it alone. “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” he said. It is true that people’s lives are influenced by others — most importantly parents, then teachers, friends and professional colleagues. But in Mr. Obama’s mind, individuals owe a collective debt to people they have never met, those who built the political system, those who created the economy and — most fundamentally — to an all-wise, beneficent government.

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” Mr. Obama continued. “Somebody else made that happen.” This claim would come as a surprise to the small-business owners who have invested their lives and life savings in making a go of it. It would be a shock to inventors and innovators who have been the drivers of America’s technological edge. It does make sense, however, coming from someone who has never had a job that didn’t depend on patronage and has spent his entire career getting ahead on identity and charisma instead of creativity and achievement.

“We succeed because we do things together,” the president chimed. He neglected to mention that lately, too much togetherness has been a source of failure. The type of relationships that help lead to success in life, the personal and professional bonds of trust and fellowship, aren’t what Mr. Obama is selling. He’s trying to pitch the idea that everyone in business should be required to take on government as a partner, with himself as a member of the board. He’s discarding the capitalist notion of free association and replacing it with the socialist idea of forced oversight by the state. The anemic economy, high unemployment and skyrocketing debt that are the products of his policies don’t deter Mr. Obama. He envisions a golden age in the future by repeating the failed policies of the past.

The government Mr. Obama worships isn’t a source of economic growth. It retards innovation, prevents jobs from being created and halts business expansion. Government under current management has become the greatest threat to initiative, creativity and wealth generation in American history. Mr. Obama thinks there is no finer force for good than his administration, but it’s a wrecking ball to prosperity. His Cabinet has the least collective private-sector experience of any Cabinet ever. This is the group that thinks unemployment checks and food stamps create jobs, that the public sector creates prosperity and that raising taxes on the productive to transfer it to the unproductive will create growth. The wonder is not that the economy is doing so poorly, but that it hasn’t collapsed altogether.

Mr. Obama has no business talking about business. He has never created anything substantive and doesn’t understand those who have made it their life’s work. This president only invented the stories and people he made up for his purported autobiography, assuming somebody else didn’t make that happen.

The Washington Times

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