On November 30, Human Events Assistant Managing Editor Michelle Oddis interviewed author Tim Carney about his new book, Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
Michelle Oddis: What are the basic principles of Obamanomics?
Tim Carney: Well, Obamanomics is about the government getting bigger and involved in more parts of the economy in ways that end up benefitting businesses and companies that have the biggest lobbyists, so I say the four laws of Obamanomics are that whenever government starts legislating and regulating, he who has the best lobbyists ends up winning. When the government is handing out money, he who has the best lobbyist gets the biggest share, that’s number one.
Number two is the fact that government regulation — by adding to the cost of doing government — always disproportionally hurts the bigger companies less than it hurts the smaller companies
Number three is the idea the government can come in and, through regulation that’s burdensome but terribly effective, can actually end up granting legitimacy to things that don’t deserve legitimacy — boosting consumer confidence in things like the stock market when maybe people shouldn’t [have] that much confidence.
And finally, government slows down the economy, and the more government regulation there is, the less competition there is, and that’s good for biggest businesses who are already on the top who don’t want to have to face the difficult free market.
Oddis: What do you think is been the biggest example we have seen in Obamanomics so far? Would it be the government’s takeover of GM?
Carney: I think that the governments takeover of GM is a good example because what ends up happening is it is a transfer of wealth from tax payers to a big business, but that’s just the most obviously example. I think the biggest examples might end up being global warming and health care regulation. This is a bit ironic because people think those things are Obama battling big business, but companies like General Electric and Goldman Sachs have invested in all the technologies that all these global warming rules would mandate or subsidize, and they’re going to get rich off these global warming rules which might not do anything for the environment but will hurt the economy. It’s basically taking tax payer money and giving it to big energy companies.
And on the health care front, you see the drug industries behind this. They have cut deals with Obama. They will be getting subsidies through the health care bill, so we will be paying money to the government who is then handing it over to drug companies.
Oddis: What do you think about Obama’s “Job Summit”?
Carney: I think that Obama’s whole economic policy — what Obamanomics has been doing — has been hurting small business and helping big business, and that’s the most destructive thing to the economy. And more importantly, Obama is keeping out new businesses through his regulation. So it’s not small business creates more jobs than big business — it’s more true that new business creates more jobs than old business.
Obama’s policy is about protecting the struggling businesses that are already there — which then prevents new businesses from coming in. So if Obama wants to save or create jobs, he should be saving them from his own regulations and taxes that are preventing new businesses that are coming in.
Oddis: In looking at the basic principles that you mentioned earlier of Obamanomics, the Republican Party has been traditionally known as the party of big business. Has this changed? It would appear that way?
Carney: I think that big business was pretty divided in the past, but now that Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress, it becomes clear that everyone else has their noses in the trough so you have to get there too. I think a lot of big businesses were already pro-Democrat or at least pro-big government and now more are moving that way because the Democrats are in power and Obama is showing that he doesn’t hate big business — he just believes in big government.
But I do have to say that the worst things they did — as far as running government — were actually at the behalf of big business. The Medicare drug bill and the Wall Street bail out that were so destructive — those were both corporate welfare programs, so it is true that the Republicans were too beholden to big business. It’s just too bad that the media misses the fact that the Democrats are also.
Oddis: How do you think McCain would have handled the economic crisis? Had he been elected, what would we be looking at now?
Carney: I was really disappointed that McCain during the campaign didn’t come out against the Bush-Obama bailout. If he had done that, it would have been something of a Hail Mary pass, but I think maybe he could have won coming out and saying, ‘Look, I’m going to stand up to George Bush and Barack Obama. I’m going to stand up to Wall Street and big government, and I’m going to say I believe in the free market.’ I don’t think he understood economics well enough to take the stand. But I think that also paints the picture forward for what the Republican Party could be. More saying no, we reject these hand outs to big business, more sort of populists talk. But a lot of people don’t like that idea. If we are going to stand up for the little guys, we need to start calling out cooperate America when they are doing bad stuff.
Oddis: Tim you also wrote The Big Ripoff, you have won awards for your writing and you are the Washington Examiner‘s Lobbying Editor. What’s your advice on how small business’s can survive through Obamanomics?
Carney: Well, unfortunately it’s not a great time to be a trying to start a new business or be trying to get by as a small business, but if you look at where the hand outs have been, and you look at ethanol subsidies and how that business is collapsing ,one of the lessons is that in the long run, unless you have the very best lobbyists, that playing the government game is more dangerous in the long run. And the profits that it looks like the government hand outs will provide end up drying up. So for a lot of small businesses, the best thing to do is look for corners of the economy which still aren’t that regulated where you still can get by on how hard you work and how good your investments are and whether consumers like you. I don’t know where those are exactly, but I do think that the destructive power that Obamanomics will have on the economy will end up causing the pendulum to swing back. I think free markets will hopefully see a re birth in a few years.
Oddis: The light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks Tim.
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