Rush and Madsen: Is President Obama thwarting economic growth?

Published: Sunday, Dec. 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Peter Rush writes that President Barack Obama needs to realize there is little he can do to help the average business, while Wayne Madsen says Obama has assisted businesses.  (Associated Press) Peter Rush writes that President Barack Obama needs to realize there is little he can do to help the average business, while Wayne Madsen says Obama has assisted businesses. (Associated Press)

Yes: Obama needs to relax the government's grip on business

WASHINGTON — The election is history and businesses across America know who will lead the country for the next four years. But will the tone of the second term be as harsh and demeaning about businesses and the people who run them, or will President Barack Obama finally realize that American free enterprise is the force that makes the country strong and prosperous?

From a businessperson's perspective, people who run Washington simply don't understand the basic economics that every person who has ever run a company, large or small, must live by — revenue must exceed expense, or you are out of business.

Only in government do the economic laws exist in a state of suspended animation until the proverbial shoe drops, as it is now doing in Greece and other parts of Europe.

However, the real test for this administration is to recognize that business people are not evil, greedy Ebenezer Scrooges exploiting their workers to squeeze every last drop of blood from them.

American businesses, big and small, care about their workers. Small businesses must compete for workers. During the depths of the recession, it was the owner who was the last to get paid, if he or she got paid at all, because keeping good employees is good business.

All the current noise about raising taxes, punishing success, imposing new mandates and regulations scare us. How can I sign a 10-year lease on office space or a factory building when the rules of the game are going to be changed? How can one hire new people if taxes and fees double the cost of the hire?

American business people are optimistic risk-takers. If we were not, we would have gone into government. Most businesses' main interaction with government is paying taxes.

Government doesn't help them succeed but rather only erects barriers to overcome. The cost of government taxes and regulations are part of the overhead of a business. The greater the cost of the government overhead, the fewer people a business can hire.

The major challenge for President Obama is to realize there is little he can do to help the average business in our country.

We don't want more loans because debt does not equal profit. We want to make a profit so that we can invest to grow our businesses or reward our employees and ourselves for successfully taking on the challenges and uncertainty of business.

We also would welcome a little respect for the long hours we put in without any guarantees of reward. We would appreciate some common sense on regulation where absolutes can't apply but cost-benefit analysis makes sense.

To have the country begin growing again, the business sector must be vibrant and healthy. People must be willing to risk everything to reach the American dream of making your children better off than you were.

It's about creating where nothing existed. It's about building wealth and defining the future.

When we look at the political class, we want them to deliver a safe, secure environment to allow us to make our plans.

The old Soviet Union amply demonstrates that politicians cannot run the economy. Mr. Obama and the political class cannot believe they have the answers. Political spending is always less efficient than private spending because it is other people's money.

Our president needs to cheer on the dreamers and the risk-takers. He needs to stop frightening away innovation with rhetoric common to college campuses in the '60s. He should be hoping to create a million new millionaires whose good ideas and hard work have created 10 million new jobs.

While Obama may not believe Calvin Coolidge's comment about the business of America is business, it is the myriad of small and big dreamers who continue to make America the uniquely great country that it is.

Peter Rush is the author of "Class Tax, Mass Tax."

No: Like FDR, Obama is saving capitalism by reigning in its excesses

WASHINGTON — The canard that President Barack Obama is anti-business is a propaganda remnant from Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign.

Obama, after all, was the president who bailed out Wall Street with the Troubled Asset Relief Program. TARP and other Obama corporate rescue programs, after all, benefited such goliath corporations as Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, General Motors and Chrysler — saving tens of thousands of jobs.

Romney, who wanted the Detroit automakers to go bankrupt, represents the predatory form of capitalism that swarms all over dead or dying corporations to pick their assets clean by selling them off with huge profits going to the vulture-like middlemen.

Had the former Massachusetts governor won the presidential election, General Motors and Chrysler likely would have been diced and sliced with their valuable assets put in the hands of Chinese, Russian, Japanese and European conglomerates courtesy of financial corpse-preparing morticians like Bain Capital.

Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus package of 2009, provided direct and indirect assistance to small and large businesses through the hiring of construction firms and related firms to rebuild roads, highways, rail lines, airports and telecommunications infrastructure.

As the dreaded Jan. 1 "financial cliff" approaches, President Obama is proposing a return to Clinton Administration tax rates, which imposed a top rate of 39.6 percent on those earning more than $250,000 a year.

That's only a slight bump up from the 35 percent rate put in place by the Bush tax cuts, and together with mandatory cuts and proposed tax increases of about $600 billion, assure a soft landing for the recovering U.S. economy.

Unfazed by Romney's drubbing in the polls and the failure of Republicans to make gains in Congress, America's wealthiest tycoons have mounted a propaganda effort aimed at convincing all of America that Obama is intent on thwarting America's growth.

Arch-conservative organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Club for Growth and American Legislative Exchange Council are seeing public support erode for tax-breaks for the rich, cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and slashing of public education, infrastructure improvement and crucial new research and development projects.

It's becoming increasingly clear that President Obama may be on the verge of forging a new can-do coalition of Democrats and moderately-conservative Republicans that would jump-start economic growth by restoring Clinton-era tax rates, while saving the vital health and social services programs popular with most Americans. No wonder the Koch Brothers and their ilk are in a state of near panic.

There is little doubt that if the United States was preparing to inaugurate Mitt Romney as president on Jan. 20, 2013, the world would be talking about America's disastrous drift into the austerity budgets now forced on such European basket-cases as Spain and Greece.

The president's election mandate to bring about a public-private partnership economic growth plan will soon be the envy of Europe but only if the administration resists efforts to place Social Security, Medicare, and public education on the chopping block.

Like FDR in the 1930s, Obama actually is saving American capitalism by reigning in its excesses and plowing under its inequities.

Today's malefactors of great wealth already have launched an industrial strength propaganda campaign to discredit Obama's recipe for economic growth.

The media should combat this insidious assault on common sense by remembering the mission Chicago journalist Finley Peter Dunne urged on newspapers at the turn of the last century: "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to www.online journal.com.

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