The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about technology in the classroom during a visit to Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland February 4, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about technology in the classroom during a visit to Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland February 4, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  

Obama’s work trap: Create fewer jobs and induce people to work less at those jobs

Photo of Larry Kudlow
Larry Kudlow
Senior Contributor, CNBC

So let me get this right. Team Obama taxes millionaires who create jobs, while Obamacare creates incentives not to work at those jobs. No wonder recovery is so anemic. The policy here is to create fewer jobs and induce people to work less at those jobs. If my logic is correct, this runs counter to the most basic principles of our economy and our country.

thought the American Idea (see Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan) had at least something to do with the virtues of work, family, and opportunity. But what I see from the Obama administration is policies that undermine these ideals.

Here’s a contrasting vision. Last week I interviewed the great entrepreneur Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources, who has harnessed the technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to completely revolutionize the energy sector of our economy. He has turned North Dakota into Saudi Arabia. Energy independence is in sight.

Now, the energy sector is responsible for roughly 10 percent of our growth. And tens of thousands of energy jobs are now being created at very high wages, all while our trade deficit is evaporating and our entire Middle East foreign policy may be changing.

Of course, the Obama administration is taking credit for the oil-and-gas revolution. But they initially opposed it and in fact had nothing to do with it. And if they opened up federal lands and offshore drilling, the energy success would be even greater. But that’s not happening.

The fact is, the energy revolution is a perfect down-home example of free-market economics at work, not government planning.

One of the things that caught my eye about the Harold Hamm story is that roughly 10 million oil-and-gas royalty owners now exist across the country. I am going to bet the energy revolution has created thousands of new millionaires. This reminds me of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerman, whose wildly successful entrepreneurial ventures also created thousands of new millionaires. Not just investors, but low-level staffers who got just a little bit of stock when Microsoft or Apple or Facebook was started. They became millionaires.

And that money didn’t go under mattresses. One way or the other it circulated through our economic system, creating thousands of new companies, vastly more jobs, and even more millionaires.

In other words, wealth creates businesses that create jobs that create a rising tide that lifts all boats.

I say this because President Obama doesn’t seem to get this. He is hung up on inequality. But why is wealth- and income-inequality bad? If the oil-royalty owner makes $1 million, while the roustabout in the field in North Dakota or Texas or Ohio or Pennsylvania makes $100,000, there is greater inequality, but everybody benefits. What Obama doesn’t get is that the creation of successful millionaires is not a zero-sum game. The millionaire’s success does not come at the expense of everyone else. In fact, that success makes everyone better off.