Gary Hofmeister: Clueless in DC
September 12, 2010
Even people who voted for President Barack Obama concede this was a very thin résumé for a man to ascend to the pinnacle of power in the entire world. And if they took the time to research anything other than his speechifying and charisma, they certainly knew he had zero business experience. But then again, that's not so unusual in our elected officials, local, state or federal, is it?
Although I'm just a small businessman, I was kind of surprised when as a nominee for Congress in '98 who was expected to win, several Republican members expressed their personal satisfaction that someone with a real life business background would be there to offer that perspective.
But the blank sheet that is emblematic of Obama's (and all his court's) background is especially pernicious considering his radical upbringing and education, both formal and informal. Part and parcel of that is a real misunderstanding of the importance of the private sector in financing the public sector.
The public depends on the private because government creates no wealth of its own. Anything it gives away it must take from the people in some form of taxes.
This administration hardly even acknowledges that.
You truly get the feeling that they believe the free enterprise golden goose will just keep laying those lovely sparkling eggs forever. And if they stop or slow up, you just need to talk sweetly or maybe kick them in the posterior to get them moving again.
The constant refrain coming from Obama and his group aimed at bankers and businessmen that they are sitting on tons of money when they should be hiring is almost funny if their ignorance weren't so sad.
Businesses need some certainty regarding government action in tax policies and regulations before bringing on new workers.
Hiring new people takes confidence that times are looking up, and you will need bodies to do the overflow of work that your present employees can't handle.
It is not a patriotic statement in reaction to the president to put people to work because they need it. Indeed, if anyone were to operate that way, they likely would find themselves out of business in short order.
Talk about "all politics is local."
Well, all business really is local in the sense that it's right here and now with only you making the decisions that will determine your survival and/or prosperity. In other words, "Sorry, Mr. Prez. I'd like to help out, but I've got to nursemaid my company first. If that works out for the country, I'm delighted. But I have to survive first."
I'm hoping and praying that this little bit of reality might change public perceptions because at this tim,e it's smack dab in their faces on daily TV.
A president is telling the electorate that the government is coming up with one more (and one more and one more and …) stimulus plan to jump-start the economy when we already have empirical evidence that it does no such thing, though it certainly leaves us deeper in debt.
Further, almost everyone knows this eventually will bankrupt us.
And all indications are that in November, there will be a resounding "No, thanks."
If even those folks near the bottom of the food chain start to realize this basic economic fact that the private economy funds the public one, perhaps a genuine political transformation could begin to stop thinking of the government as the source of free this and that.
We then might start stealing the phrase "The fundamental transformation of the American economy."
How would a 3 to 4 percent unemployment rate sound?
Gary Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat, a company he founded in 1973. He is a director of The Steamboat Institute and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic capitalism during the 1990s.