I have made no mystery of my passion for politics on our blog thus far in the semester. After examining the blog prompt this week I thought it would be interesting to discuss the Obama administration and its fiscal policies to gain a better understanding of the relationship between business and government. I also hope to dispel any rumors or false claims surrounding President Obama’s policies.
Throughout the year of 2011 and the current Republican primaries there has been an incredible amount of focus placed on the growing national debt. The Republican candidates for President continue paint President Obama as unfriendly to business. In the President’s recent State of the Union he worked to challenge those accusations by focusing on the need for fairness, a message that resonates with many Americans. He seemed to portray himself as a pro-business populist which could be a very effective strategy for him during the general election.
The President seeks to prove that there is nothing anti-capitalist about providing benefits to businesses that support our country by bringing jobs back to the states. At the same time he can enforce additional taxes to those which ship jobs overseas. President Obama’s creative “Built to Last” theme in the State of the Union was used to reference the success of the auto industry bailouts, which have resulted in General Motors emerging again as the world’s leading car company. Furthermore, based on the speech, it appears that Obama’s will place significant focus on investing in education and other engines of middle-class growth.
President Obama emphatically addressed businesses saying: “Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.” Many have responded to this by questioning whether it is the President’s authority to dictate how businesses operate. These criticisms are misguided and overblown; however, as the President is simply referring to tax incentives for those who actively work to bring jobs back to the states. In addition to a new proposal for “minimum taxes” addressing those who make $1 million a year and are leaving the U.S. to escape taxes, the President effectively explained the benefits of such regulations. These views stand in stark contrast to Republicans who claim that regulations are preventing a faster recovery.
So is Obama really anti-business?
The reality of the situation is that when it comes to controversial regulations, court orders and not politicians are largely responsible.
President Obama even initiated a regulatory “look-back” with Cass Sunstein to eliminate a series of unnecessary regulations. In fact, he is currently issuing new regulations at a lower rate that George W. Bush’s final two years in office. The President also advocated in his address for training of two million people across the country to convert community colleges into “community career centers.” These centers would provide curriculums directed towards job vacancies in the area to assist in filling those positions. This is definitely a pro-business stance.
There are certainly indicators out there that President Obama’s policies are working. The month of January marked the most productive with regards to private sector job creation. In addition, the DOW Jones surpassed 13000 points just yesterday for the first time since May 2008. You can take a look at the charts below to see these and other trends. Both charts were provided by the Huffington Post.
Also, this New York Times article discusses Obama’s business friendly practices which include a desire to lower the corporate tax rate by 7%. The commentary above proves that there is a definite interplay between business and government. Republicans and Democrats have obvious philosophical differences with regards to what that relationship should look like and what policies should be put forward. That being said, President Obama has been unfairly targeted as anti-business. Through his State of the Union address and the successes of his previous policies, progress is apparent. If job growth continues it will be very difficult for the Republican candidates to distinguish themselves as able to do more, faster.
If you have some free time, sit down and listen to the President’s own words with regards to economic policy.