Last week, in an online video interview with The Daily Caller, I opined that the Obama administration is the worst administration for business in my lifetime. It became a headline, and I ended up on CNBC’s “Kudlow Report” debating former Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont governor Howard Dean and Robert Johnson, a CNBC contributor, on that very question.
I said that Americans wanted jobs, and research showed that most Americans of every party blame the federal government for hurting business through over-regulation. Amazingly, Dean claimed that Americans dislike business and it is the lack of business ethics that has destroyed jobs and hurt the economy. I rolled my eyes but was happy to hear that Johnson admitted that the administration seemed deaf to business concerns and needed to listen to jobs creators before issuing rules.
The facts are evident. Since President Obama took office we have lost 1.8 million private-sector jobs and added about 30,000 federal government jobs. Unemployment has been stuck around nine percent. Yet we have vastly increased spending, which has only burdened future generations with our huge and growing debt.
Promoting my book this year (The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream), I have traversed America and heard entrepreneurs and small- and large-business owners complain about the new rules, mandates and uncertainty caused by overzealous administration regulators. When you add the health care law requirements, the unintended consequences of the financial reform legislation and all the new rulemakings required, and top it with a politically appointed bureaucracy lacking business experience, you’re left with a dangerous job-killing cocktail.
It’s not just my opinion. Democratic strategist Mark Penn wrote a blistering op-ed two weeks ago in The Huffington Post excoriating the Obama administration for hurting the economy with its class warfare hyperbole and singular focus on income redistribution. And the normally compromising centrist Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) took to The Wall Street Journal opinion page last week to complain that the administration was killing American jobs through broad and excessive rulemaking.
When Speaker Boehner recently spoke to a group of business executives in Washington, he was interrupted by applause only once: when he advised President Obama to threaten to fire his cabinet members if they continued to attack American businesses, hurt the economy and cost jobs.
Our nation, like many others, faces tough economic times. We also face tough budgetary times. But we will not get out of this mess as long as our government insists on treating business as the under-regulated enemy, rather than a jobs-creating partner.
We all want a safe and clean America, and government plays a critical role in establishing the rules of the game. But we also need to ensure that businesses are eager to expand and hire American workers. This requires a belief that our government will end the attacks on business, both on the stump and in the agencies.
That’s not all. We also require action in the form of trade agreements, freeing the nation’s wireless spectrum, having a strategic immigration policy and encouraging innovation in the United States. Note that it does not require spending more money on anything except needed infrastructure and education.