Dear Government, Please Stop “Helping” Us

I have said before that the Obama administration has been the most anti-business of any administration I have ever seen. There is hostility towards success achieved through legal business means and demonization of virtually every profession (except ironically lawyers, professors and community organizers).

  • Doctors have been accused or removing tonsils and amputating without reason.
  • Bankers are irresponsible and fat cats.
  • Oil industry execs – well you know.
  • Hedge funds – are bad people for fighting the White House during the whole autogate controversy of last year where GM and Chrysler were bailed out.

One has to imagine these comments are made to somehow help the US population but it is statements like these that are in-part responsible for keeping companies from hiring and well-off consumers from spending. I can’t imagine this is what our President intended to happen but the rhetoric hasn’t ceased and neither have the job losses.

While I come into work every single day and promise myself I won’t write about politics it is apparent that politics has become a greater factor in business than one’s ideas and potential. In other words if the government continues changing the pieces around, businesses will continue to hold off on spending and so will consumers. And of course this makes government policies in the US not only applicable to my US readers but to those around the globe.

I have come to realize via very-long Facebook conversations with others that many people believe that the US government needs to spend and spend and spend on stimulus. Let alone the fact that the $780B spent on “shovel -ready” projects hasn’t helped the unemployment rate in the construction sector, etc.

It seems the world boils down to people who believe the government should solve all our problems and those who believe that the citizens can and should.

What is scary though is our economy desperately needs to put people back to work as many people who have been out of jobs for two years are considered to be permanently unemployed as their skills become too old to be hired again. One wonders how the US competes in a global economy when tens of millions more people don’t contribute but instead consume the financial resources of those with jobs.

Still, I have come to respect Keynesians such as Paul Krugman who believe the government can solve all problems more efficiently than businessmen. I disagree with them of course and if I could just meet these people in the Motor Vehicles Department for a few minutes, at Starbucks going over the thousands of pages in the needlessly complex IRS tax code or at a state construction site, maybe we would see eye to eye.

But until then, Dave Logan over at BNET writes an article today which made me stand up and cheer.

It is titled The Two Things Obama Needs to Say to Business and explains how business owners feel Obama is highly ungrateful for the people who risk the financial future of their family to create jobs only to be demonized.

Here is an excerpt:

Here’s what he should say instead: “You are giving everything you have to make this company, and this country, recover — thank you for your service.” This is a line normally reserved for men and women in uniform. With the highest possible respect for our soldiers, it also applies to business people who give everything they have to help turn this country around.

And let’s put this article in perspective… The government seems to more recently think it knows better than the free markets how to help its citizens. But much of the financial mess the world is in stems from the fact that our government tried to solve the problem of what they saw as inequality in home ownership. They subsequently instructed  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give mortgages to sub-prime borrowers with poor credit. And because they tampered with a mortgage system which worked, millions of people who weren’t financially qualified to own homes purchased them and lost them along with all the money they put into improvements, furniture, etc.

So the people who the government tried to help were the ones who bore the brunt of the housing crash. They went from living in rental units to houses to the street.

This is the law of unintended consequences and it happens whenever politicians try to help us by giving speeches which demonize the successful or by drastically changing systems which work while “doing right” by a group they believe needs their help.

Another example is the Americans With Disabilities Act which was designed to ensure more disabled people get jobs. It was passed by President George Bush Senior and virtually all Republicans and Democrats supported it. Since the law was passed though the number of people with disabilities who are working has decreased because as John Stossel points out it made a group of people “protected” which means if there is ever a need to let a person in this group go, the odds of losing a wrongful termination lawsuit increases.

These are two cases where the very people targeted for assistance ended up losing homes and jobs because the government thought it knew better than the free market system which this country used to be based on.

Here is an excerpt from Stossel:

Finally, the ADA has led to some truly bizarre results. Exxon gave ship captain Joseph Hazelwood a job after he completed alcohol rehab.

Hazelwood then drank too much and let the Exxon Valdez run aground in Alaska. Exxon was sued for allowing it to happen. So Exxon prohibited employees who have had a drug or drinking problem from holding safety-sensitive jobs. The result? You guessed it — employees with a history of alcohol abuse sued under the ADA, demanding their “right” to those jobs. The federal government (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) supported the employees. Courts are still trying to sort it out.

One final bit of news is regarding healthcare as many of my friends and relatives who are liberals tell me I should be thankful for having Obama in office because at least healthcare costs are going down. What they don’t know is healthcare costs in the US are going to skyrocket next year and so are the taxes and fees which kick in to pay for it all.

Again, the beneficiaries of the healthcare bill were to be business and citizens we were told. Unfortunately the law of unintended consequences strikes again and both groups will see significantly higher premiums for the foreseeable future.

Dear government – and I am going to ask nicely this time – can you please stop “helping” us? I’m just not sure how much more of your assistance we can take.

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