To understand Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats, examine the Petri dish of their experiment in liberal (rebranded as “progressive”) policies in Obama’s home state.
They are policies that dampen the spirit, incentive, productivity, and self-reliance of entrepreneurs; they force companies to cut nefarious deals with politicians in order to stay in business. Then politicians “redistribute” the money they take by duress, which amounts to stealing it for their own use. In short, Obama’s economic policy is that of his deficit-running, high-taxing, credit rating-downgrading and business-fleeing home state of Illinois.
Sears is the latest in a string of Illinois companies (a.k.a. employers) looking to move. What few companies remain, like Boeing, Caterpillar, Jimmy John’s, Continental Tire, Motorola, etc., have all cut political deals. Other companies continue to flee — or attempt to flee — the state in order to avoid high taxes, regulations, and shakedowns by unions and politicians.
Chicago politicians do not want to lose the iconic Sears Company. But, like the Sears Tower itself, you get 108 different stories from politicians as to why Sears wants to leave. After years of scandals where four of the last five governors have been indicted and the issues of ex-governor and Super Cuts “before” model Rod Blagojevich are still pending, Illinois is harvesting what it sowed. It is home to chief shakedown artist Jesse Jackson — need I say more?
As per The Wall Street Journal, “Despite January tax increases, Illinois is likely to end its fiscal year June 30 with $8.3 billion in unpaid obligations. It has the nation’s worst-funded pension system, and lawmakers are fighting over a budget for the coming fiscal year.” Under Obama, the economic policies of Illinois can be inflicted on the nation.
The only way Illinois keeps or entices companies to stay is with political deals cut when they threaten to leave. Motorola was recently given a $100 million package to stay, and Boeing received political and financial incentives to be in Chicago. Democrats get into the pockets of corporations by forcing them into “discussions,” going after them so they have to come to the table. As the word was put out to healthcare companies during the prelude to Obamacare, “You are either at the table, or on the table.” Fittingly, Rahm “Pocket Thug” Emanuel, who personifies Obama’s Chicago-style politics, easily won the mayor’s race.
Dems continue the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, except they apply it to our tax money: it’s their Don’t Ask Us What We Did With It And We Won’t Tell You Where It Went policy.
Governments tend to think of businesses as their lawful prey. In elegant and well-crafted speeches of soaring rhetoric, Obama blames business for the ills of our nation. But businesses do not have a bully pulpit to defend themselves; if they try, they are attacked by the henchmen of the Democrat Party: the liberal press, late-night comedians, or regulatory operatives who make life miserable.
Democrats do not understand business. Obama makes speeches prodding corporate America to “hire more workers,” not realizing that only governments hire more workers than they need.
The politics of envy appeal to the worst in us. When it is pointed out to Democrats that their budget has a $1.5 trillion deficit, they seem to respond, “Hey, look over there — some guy in the private sector made $1 million last year. Let’s get him!” That, in a nutshell, is the Obama/Chicago economic policy. Play to simple-minded people’s sense of envy and deflect it toward a person in the private sector who is providing a service or product that consumers are willing to pay for and making a profit.
Obama is learning that president-ing is much harder than community organizing. He says he wishes he could “wave his magic wand” and create jobs, lower gas prices and get us out of these wars he escalated. In fairness, Obama seems to be more in control of his “wand” than former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The good thing, as Ronald Reagan said, is that “people can vote with their feet” by leaving high-tax states and the like. But at the federal level, most of us can’t leave the United States, and there’s the rub. If a state overspends, over-governs and treats people and business poorly, they can leave that state for friendlier environments. By bringing Illinois politics and policies to Washington, Obama is nationalizing awful economic policies that have failed.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com