The Friday Letter / Issue #180
A primer in the follies of socialist Utopia
Stephen Combs / The Federalist Review
President Obama’s attempt to make Bain Capital the main issue of his re-election campaign is coming apart like a Robert Hall suit. The latest to peel bark from Obama’s anti-business theme is Bill Clinton.
“I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work. This is good work,’ ” the former President told Politico 44. “The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.” Clinton called Romney’s work at Bain a “good business career.”
President Clinton’s remarks are hardly good news for a campaign that is staking its fortunes on demonizing business and convincing uninformed voters that economic hardship is caused by entrepreneurs.
Clinton is the third prominent Democrat in three weeks to criticize Obama’s ignorance of business finance. On May 20 Newark Mayor Cory Booker called Obama’s attack on Bain Capital “nauseating,” though under intense pressure from campaign chief David Axelrod, he quickly retracted his remarks.
On Thursday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program and called Bain “a fine company” along with his friends who work there.
Lessons for our children – why it matters
Nothing explains the wreckage caused by an economically-ignorant President than a story in the May 31 Wall Street Journal (B1). The story reports on widespread failure in the car battery industry despite $1.26 billion in grants from the Obama stimulus bill. As a sidebar, it is not surprising that the bulk of these grants went to firms in battleground states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida among them) where the principals are major Obama campaign cash bundlers.
Grants went to nine plants “that have few customers, operate well below capacity, and, so, far, have created less than a third of the jobs promised by 2015,” reporter Mike Ramsey writes.
The companies are failing because automakers have produced only 50,000 electric cars in the first three years of a 6-year government program to produce 1 million. Among the losers: Korea’s LG Chem, which built a plant in Michigan to supply General Motors Corp., the government-owned automaker. Financed by the taxpayers, the plant has 220 employees but so far no production.
This is what happens in a planned economy (socialism, in which government owns the means of production, or fascism, in which it controls privately-owned means of production). In its quest of a perfect Utopian society – never achieved in recorded history – the Obama government substitutes its judgment for that of individuals acting in the free marketplace. Demand-pull is replaced by supply-push.
“What happened?” Ramsey asks. “The U.S. provided grants that tied the battery makers to aggressive timetables, requiring each to achieve production and staffing targets that would supply tens of thousands of vehicles a year. But those production timetables weren’t linked to market demand(,) leading to a shakeout among suppliers.”
In other words, the central planners (government) forgot part of the equation required for demand-supply equilibrium: what consumers want, not what government wants them to have.
“We’re going to put them in cars that are good for them,” Obama’s socialist former environmental czar promised in the early days of the administration. Herein lies the result.
The Department of Energy oversees advanced battery grants. It pleads for more time in making government planning work. DOE, Ramsey writes, believes the program will succeed “when electric cars become a regular sight on American highways.”
Given present technology in which electric cars are now known to contribute nothing to cleaner air because they use electricity primarily made from coal, the DOE’s promised success might unfold the same year as another oft-predicted event – the year pigs fly.
Street agitator: one who agitates in the street
More than once we have been charged with abusing the literary device “hyperbole” in frequently referring to Barack Obama’s career as “street agitator.”
Thanks, Ed Klein, for coming to our rescue. Assuming you did not learn this term from us, we applaud your use of it as one that accurately describes what Mr. Obama did with his pre-Presidential life when he wasn’t toking doobies or snorting cocaine.
In a new book, The Amateur (Regnery, $27.95), the veteran reporter Klein describes Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright, the radical United Church of Christ minister whom Obama claims had practically nil influence on his life.
As quoted by Investor’s Business Daily on Thursday, “While working as a South Side street agitator, Obama often dropped by Wright’s office or home for advice,” Klein writes. IBD reports that “The Audacity of Hope was the title of a Wright sermon in which he said, ‘White folks’ greed runs a world in need.’ ”
The Audacity of Hope is one of two books Obama wrote, both about himself.