Sunday, September 9, 2012

One reason not to vote for President Barack Obama

Barack Obama has not been a bad president. He deserves credit for saving General Motors and for killing bin Laden as was noted at the Democratic National Convention. But there is one reason why Barack Obama should not be re-elected and that is because of his attack on Mitt Romney for being rich. The tone of this attack by Obama and by his many surrogates and followers is an attack on everything America stands for.

Firstly, and from a practical standpoint, Americans should celebrate Mitt Romney's success because it means success for others as Mitt Romney's success  contributed to the success of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Mitt Romney's company, Bain Capital, really did create hundreds of thousands of jobs due to it's investment in start-ups such as Staples and Sports Authority even factoring in its mistakes and failures. More fundamentally, capital in the hands of the creators of capital, private citizens, goes either toward investment or consumption. Either way, capital creates economic activity which creates products and services which creates jobs. 

Certainly too much American capital makes its way overseas but this is because of faulty public policies by the government, policies that should be reformed to encourage domestic investment. The surest way to accomplish more domestic investment is with a favorable tax environment and regulations that encourage business and savings.

On the surface, the attack against Mitt Romney for being rich generates class conflict by stimulating the basest of emotions in many of us, emotions of envy and greed. The reasoning is that because your neighbor down the street has more than you, than you are entitled to a piece of what he has just because you want it. Many of us are envious of people like Mitt Romney and some of us would feel better about our own sense of inferiority if the government moved in and took a bigger piece of our neighbor's property cutting him down to size. This makes no sense as we cut off our own nose to spite our face.

Going deeper, the attack against Mitt Romney for being rich is an attack on self-interest and our ability to freely trade goods and services and accumulate capital. This is an attack on private ownership and this is an attack on human freedom and the human spirit. These basic and positive aspects of human nature, self-interest, the ability to trade in a free market, are demonized when Mitt Romney is attacked for being rich. Mitt Romney is used as a stand-in for the free market and the attack is exacerbated by the vicious stereotyping of Mitt Romney as out of touch and uncaring. This was done with a political ad accusing Mitt Romney of not caring about the cancer death of the wife of a laid-off employee from a company that Bain had invested in. Besides the fact that the tragic death occurred six years after the layoff and that Mitt Romney was not at Bain at the time, this portrayal is an ugly and false stereotype of all successful people.

Not to be too hyperbolic but this was the same sort of attack the Nazis leveled against the Jews and the Young Turks leveled against the Armenians. Both groups were viewed as rich and public emotions of greed and envy were stoked against them making them vulnerable to conspiracy theories and blame for the shortcomings of many citizens and of the governments themselves. The fact is that many Jews in Germany and many Armenians in Turkey were, indeed, rich and successful but this was a good thing, not something to be demonized. If you replace the word "rich" or "millionaire and billionaire" with the word "Jew" you would have very similar rhetoric emanating out of many on the left today generally, and as related to Mitt Romney's wealth in particular, as did emanate out of Nazi Germany with regard to the Jews.   

No comments: