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A Legacy and Economics

January 9, 2017

Until recently, no presidency in our lifetime was greeted with such enthusiasm and unhinged hope as that of Barack Obama. It was the dawn of a new age.  Obama campaigned on hope in 2008 and it helped turn out a large and diverse and excited electorate.  To many he was like a savior. He spent two terms in office cultivating that image by passing legislation like universal health care which was to give universal health care coverage while reducing healthcare costs and by increasing government regulations (97,100 pages worth) to direct how we live and do business.  The problem; these efforts failed to do what they were supposed to do -- make the lot of the American people better. 
Two months ago the chickens came home to roost and Obama, Clinton, and their party leadership, which according to Wikileaks was in bed with the party elites, suffered a resounding defeat with many of the party faithful deserting them.  The question is why?  Was it Obamacare that brought massive premium increases and out of sight deductibles?  Was it the huge number of executive orders that micromanaged our lives?   Or was it a misunderstanding of basic economics?

We’d suggest it was Obama’s inability to address the economic quality of our lives.  He failed because the persistent economic stagnation continued.  As one writer put it, “We leave the theater with an empty popcorn-bag, a watery soda, and once again deal with the real world instead of the fantasy we watched on the screen.”

The bottom line is Obama never understood economics and had very little appreciation for the power of freedom to create economic growth and prosperity.  He really thought Obamacare would work while those familiar with socialism knew it was doomed to fail.  Full time workers found their hours reduced to part-time status.  New employment and growth opportunities started to vanish as employers weighed possible growth against the increased costs of operations imposed by increased federal regulations.

Obama never figured out where growth comes from and the contribution freedom makes to its creation, much less how government controls and mandates hold back growth. He never understood wealth must be created through enterprise and innovation, trade and experimentation, by real people who need the freedom to take risks, unencumbered by a regulatory state.  Having a “nice” guy in the White House doesn’t equal economic well being!
In the end Obama’s policies not only cost his party the 2016 election but the Democrats lost over a 1,000 elections during his eight years in office.  Republicans now have total control in half of the states. 

As Jeffery Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education puts it: “You can have all the highest hopes, best aspirations, vast public support, and all the prestige backing in the world. But if you can't get economics right, nothing else falls into place.” 

A word of caution for the Republicans among us; the economic repercussions of what you do are not limited to just Democrats!  So choose, but choose wisely!

Bill, Mark, and John

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