Taking Business to Task

President Obama gave two recent speeches to business groups and sat for an interview that included questions about his relationship with the U.S. business community. What he said in those instances again demonstrated his rare combination of ignorance and arrogance; lecturing the private sector about how, in exchange for the government creating a favorable business environment, businesses must honor their obligations to create jobs and invest here in the United States. Key word: obligation.


Will no one explain to him that we are not serfs of his government; that his government is obligated to work for us? If there is obligation here, it's at the White House and the Capitol Building, not at doorstep of my business.


Even if business had some obligation to create jobs, which it does not, it could never honor that obligation, anymore than we can defy the law of gravity by wishing it so. Business cannot pay people to dig holes by day and fill them up by night as government can (until it runs out of other peoples' confiscated money). Business can only create jobs where and when it is in its owners' and shareholders' and customers' and even employees' best economic interests to do so.


There is link between profitability and sustainability. Money moves about for cause-and-effect reasons of its own, none of which ever reflect any ideological idiocy about obligation. Money, like gravity, knows no ideology, no obligation. Business can only reasonably be expected to successfully direct money to investments offering the best yield.


Obama is a globalist; he should understand that the boundaries of the nation as drawn on a map long ago ceased controlling the movement of money. This nation must compete for all investment dollars. Blustering about obligation is buffoonery. Competition is required.


And it is competition we stand to lose. The United States has the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Many U.S. industries and even governments are hampered by unbending unions forcing wages and pensions far in excess of the intrinsic and competitive marketplace for the jobs they do. Government has piled on regulatory paperwork and costs and imposed a confusing, chaos-inducing and unbearably costly health care burden. It has issued incessant threats, dreamed up new tax-the-rich schemes, and destroyed entire industries with its lousy trade policies.


None of this contributes to an environment seductive to business investment. Thus, money will search for more welcoming places, find them, and go there. It is as simple as that. And the more meddling federal and state governments engage in, to try and make business behave in a manner contrary to its own best interests, to try and make money act against its own nature, the more money flees.


Among the businesses President Obama has been in charge of for 18 months (and would very much like to expand exponentially) is government-run health care in the form of Medicare. How's he doing? Medicare lost at least $60 billion dollars last year to fraud, abuse and obvious waste.


So I have a simple suggestion for Obama: demonstrate that you can run the business you already have before confiscating or transforming or massively interfering in others, or lecturing business owners like me about how we should manage our affairs. Grab hold of Medicare and stop its losses - all of them, right its ship, make it solvent, present it as a shining crown-jewel of how a business should be run. Then pontificate and criticize. Until then, shut up.