Obama fights the cancer of economic growth

David Cohen Former Deputy Assistant Sec. of the Interior
Font Size:

I have to admit, I had never understood President Obama’s economic policies. If he had wanted to promote economic growth, why would he oppose the Keystone pipeline project? Why would he discourage job-creating investment by vowing to raise taxes on those who invest? Why would he burden employers with excessive new regulation that makes it costly to hire workers? Why would he create a massive healthcare bureaucracy with thousands of new regulations in the pipeline, leaving employers with no way of knowing of how much each new worker hired will eventually cost them? Why would his proudest achievement, Obamacare (which, due to his excessive modesty, he rarely mentions these days), include a massive financial disincentive for small businesses to grow beyond 50 employees? Why would he hire environmental regulators whose “philosophy” is to “crucify” companies that provide affordable energy just to make examples of them? Why would he ignore his own commission’s recommendations for pro-growth tax reform?

In short, why would he consistently do the exact opposite of what is needed to promote economic growth? While we would normally be experiencing robust growth coming out of a recession, our private sector grew at a rate of 1.2 percent last year — a rate that would have to improve dramatically just to become worthy of the adjective “anemic.” But Obama, through his policies, acts as if he’s achieving this rate of growth on purpose. And through his comments (“the private sector is doing fine”), he acts as if he’s proud of the results.

No, I had never understood President Obama’s economic policies. Until now. At the Netroots Conference in Rhode Island this past weekend, a gathering of President Obama’s most fervent core supporters discussed the concept of economic growth. One such Obama supporter, featured panelist Colin Mulcher, shed light on the subject: “I think currently the goal seems to be, like, the unstated assumption is that the goal is growth, for the sake of growth. It’s like, we have to grow, and grow, and grow, and grow, and grow. Why? I don’t know, we just have to grow. The only thing that I know about [where] the definition is out-of-control growth, is cancer. Like, literally … the definition of out-of-control growth is cancer.”

A light went off in my head. All this time, I had just blindly assumed that economic growth was a good thing. I had just accepted everything that “The Man” was trying to spoon-feed into my brain, without ever questioning the underlying assumptions. If economic growth were a good thing, then President Obama’s policies would make no sense. But why would someone as intelligent as President Obama pursue policies that make no sense? But if economic growth is like cancer, then the president’s polices make perfect sense. It’s like he’s fighting cancer. And what kind of ignorant jerks would stop someone from fighting cancer? “The Party of No,” that’s who.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is peddling policies that would promote economic growth. These policies include reforming the tax code to make it “fairer, flatter and simpler”; reducing our corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the world; streamlining regulation; and removing barriers to developing our energy resources.

Romney will tell you that his policies will spur the private sector to create jobs, and hence help those who are struggling the most in this economy. He’ll tell you that by promoting economic growth, his policies will help poor and working people. But here’s what he won’t tell you: In addition to helping the poor and working people, there is a very real and significant danger that Romney’s policies will also benefit people who are not poor. And to anyone concerned about “fairness” in our society, the risk of such collateral damage is as bad as, well, cancer.

So there you have it. While President Obama is fighting the moral equivalent of cancer, Mitt Romney is pursuing his nefarious scheme to grow the economy. It’s not too late to stop Romney before he drowns us in a sea of jobs and economic growth. It’s not too late to help President Obama move us “forward” with a recession that’s “built to last.” Yes, we can!

David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W. Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Left-Hearted, Right-Minded: Why Conservative Policies Are The Best Way To Achieve Liberal Ideals.