Barack Obama in an extreme conservative in the Old-World sense. He believes he is a progressive, but he is exactly the opposite.
Much of the world’s economic structure, and this is true of much of Europe, is controlled by extended families, often for hundreds of years. It is much like a modern form of feudalism. The massive regulatory welfare state is the new royalty, carefully controlling life to the level of the mundane, even the definition of pizza (more on that). This creates significant barriers to entry for new business. Labor is minutely controlled, making it onerous to hire new folks or shed existing employees. The result is a very conservative, static economy. Much like the Middle Ages, only with cell phones and bullet trains. The economic princes and barons are largely protected from disruptive competition, helping insure that their vast fortunes are kept intact indefinitely. The vassals are well cared for by the state. It is the classic agreement among the power elite. The state keeps power; the gilded elite their money. Crush those upstart vassals!
One result is that jobs aren’t created because in dynamic progressive economic systems like America that work is done by small and medium entrepreneurial businesses. In Western Europe in the past 30 years, the private sector has not created one net new job. In the truly progressive American economy, in the last two decades of the 20th century our so called “cowboy capitalism” destroyed 44 million jobs but created 73 million jobs during the same time for a net gain of 29 million jobs. This creative destruction is very disruptive to the established economic elite. Look at the Forbes 400 list in America and you will see the vast majority of members are from the unwashed masses that have created new products and new companies. Same with successful smaller and medium businesses. How dare they succeed, lacking titles and lineage! Sniff! Sniff!
What these economic William Wallaces (see: “Braveheart”) have done in America, in conjunction with established economic entities that are forced to constantly look over their shoulders rather than rest at the club, is to create dazzling advances in every arena. Then much of the world’s old reactionary systems get a “free rider” effect of adopting or pirating these advances. This is not to say no innovation is created by these old order economies, but it is much more controlled and largely confined to the old elite companies.
As President Obama attempts to move America to the Old World Western Europe Model, he is working to establish a reactionary model that has unfortunately dominated most of human history in one form or another. And in doing so, he has and will receive much political and financial support from large established economic interests. They will do so using political rhetoric that loudly shouts that it is in the name of us making us working vassals happier and more secure, but actually it is to protect their interests from the upstarts.
Years ago my family was in Scotland and my then 13-year-old son was watching a CNN Europe story on the EU’s pizza commission. It showed a room full of bureaucrats and piles of paper. My son said “That is so stupid, like people can’t figure out good and bad pizza.” Then he looked at me and said “Dad, could that ever happen in America?”
Michael Whalen is policy chairman at the National Center for Policy Analysis and president and CEO of Heart of America Restaurants and Inns.