A Philosopher's Blog

Is Obama Bad For Business?

Posted in Business, Philosophy by Michael LaBossiere on December 30, 2011
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...


I saw an interesting interview of Mitt Romney by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the other day. Wolf asked Romney a rather interesting question about business. This is a question I have also wondered about, but lacking Wolf’s access, I have never been able to properly ask. Here is the general question: given that the Dow Jones is way up from when Obama took office and given that big business are doing amazingly well, how can it be claimed that Obama is bad for  or against business?

After all, one stock criticism of Obama made by many Republicans is that he is anti-business or, at the very least, not good for business. If this were true, one would expect that business would be doing very badly and this, at least for the big players, is far from true.

Romney made the obvious reply: Obama is good for Wall Street but he is bad for small businesses. There is also, obviously enough, the fact that unemployment is still a rather serious problem. As might be imagined, there is a certain irony in a very wealthy Republican calling a Democrat to task for apparently siding with big business at the expense of the little guy.

Since the general attack that Obama is bad for business won’t fly, a key question is whether or not Obama is to blame (at least in part) for the plight of small business and employment in America.

One way that he might be blamed is that the bailout helped the big guys who might have otherwise perished-thus, perhaps, opening up the business ecosystem for many small business. It could also be argued that the way Obama handled matters has encouraged lenders to not lend to people wanting to start or maintain small businesses. It might also be argued that Obama has done little or nothing to stop the domination of big business in the market nor address the tendency to send jobs overseas. In short, Obama could perhaps be criticized for continuing the business as usual policies that predate his administration as well as for handing big finance vast sums of cash. That is, the “anti-business” Obama could be taken to task for being “big business Obama.”

This would certainly be an interesting narrative. Hearing Romney talk about this, I began to wonder if Romney and other Republicans would actually take up an anti-Wall Street narrative and adopt a narrative in which they spoke of defending the small businesses and the working folks. Seeing Republicans sounding like Democrats would certainly be interesting.

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  1. millions_knives said, on January 5, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I will point you in the direction of this website. http://www.cepr.net This is generally solid economic reporting that helps clarify much of the misinformation presented in a large portion of the popular economic/business news.
    The answers to some of your lines of questioning can be answered with this link.

    The biggest issue in the US economy is that there was a falsely inflated housing bubble. When it burst it took trillions of dollars out of the economy. What businesses say again and again in polling is that there is not sufficient demand to increase hiring. So instead businesses are investing in things such as equipment and hardware. The fact that this level of investment is quite healthy in businesses should be a fair indicator of the health of credit markets.

    The big issue is that consumption remains flat. This is affected by things like a huge trade deficit and over valued US currency (or in some instances under valued foreign currencies), and a federal reserve system that would rather maintain interest rates at artificially low levels. These are policy issues but they are also policy issues that no one in party politics trying to be elected President would take President Obama to task on. Essentially both parties take very similar stances on these issues.

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