The Obama Campaign Would Prefer You Not Think About The Economy In November

Between the polls and the state of the economy, It's rather obvious why the Obama campaign keeps trying to change the subject.

Say what you will about the Bain attacks and whether or not they might be working, but once again we’ve got polling evidence that appears to suggest that Mitt Romney is opening up an advantage over the President on the economy:

WASHINGTON – Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obamawhen it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.

The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.

(…)

Romney has the edge when it comes to being able to “get things done,” and the broad landscape seems tilted in his favor:

•Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much more enthusiastic about the election, an important factor in persuading supporters to vote. By 18 points, 51%-33%, they report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting. In contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by 4 points say they are less enthusiastic than usual, 43%-39%.

•A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That’s the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.

We’ve seen this in other recent polling as well, and while it hasn’t had much of an influence on the national polling yet, or even the polling at the state level, it strikes me as yet another demonstration of the fact that, at least at the moment, the economy is Romney’s strongest argument and it suggests that polls may start moving in his direction once voters start paying more attention to the race. That assumes, of course, that this remains an election about the economy rather than a referendum on the candidates. In that regard, the poll shows that the President remains more likable than Romney although, as noted above, it doesn’t appear that the 6 week long Bain onslaught has had much of an impact on Romney’s favorability ratings. At the very least, it’s done very little to move the polls.

As I’ve said before, this is why the Obama campaign has made such a concerted effort to try to make this race about Mitt Romney rather than the President’s record. They think they can one running against the caricature of Romney as the out-of-touch plutocrat, and they clearly are concerned about losing if the election ends up being a referendum on the economy. It’s a classic political strategy, of course. The question is whether it will work. Will voters really are more about Mitt Romney’s bank account than an economy that appears to be headed into recession yet again? Will they care more about Ann Romney’s horses than an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly high and job growth that is going nowhere? Will they care more about a car garage than the price of the food they have to put on the table?

Your guess is as good as mind I suppose, but it strikes me that diversionary tactics like the ones the Obama campaign is engaging in seldom work in American politics. If the economy is still in bad shape in November, voters are going to remember that when they walk in the voters booth. What the Obama campaign is obviously concerned about is the possibility that enough of them will be remembering it to toss what is going to be a very close election to the opposition, and send the Obama’s back to Chicago in January. That’s why they’re trying to change the subject.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Economics and Business, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah, your team is ahead, Doug!!!!
    Is that water heavy?

  2. I don’t belong to either team, I think they both stink

  3. Moosebreath says:

    “Your guess is as good as mind I suppose, but it strikes me that diversionary tactics like the ones the Obama campaign is engaging in seldom work in American politics.”

    Except in 2004. And in 1988. (and others will no doubt point to other cases).

  4. bk says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t belong to either team, I think they both stink

    Yes, Republicans in Congress continue to block any meaningful job legislation whatsoever that is proposed by Obama. Hence, both sides do it.

  5. anjin-san says:

    I don’t belong to either team

    Whatever gets you through the night…

  6. Scott F. says:

    Making the case that Romney’s business experience and personal wealth will not translate to strong stewardship of the national economy is NOT changing the subject from the economy.

  7. Lit3Bolt says:

    Link-Troll for Outside the Beltway continues with his fatuous analysis of everything political except for guns and his own political ideology. News at 11.

  8. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “I don’t belong to either team . . . ”

    If you side with the GOP on practically every important issue and are always lukewarm and tepid in criticizing the GOP positions you disagree with, then it doesn’t matter if you claim not to wear the GOP jersey. You’re on that team.

    Also, if all the readers here believe you’re on the GOP team, then you are horrible at expressing your independence. The problem is definitely not with the readers.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    “…I don’t belong to either team, I think they both stink…”

    Maybe you believe that…I don’t think anyone else does. Certainly your posts don’t back up that neutrality.

    The economy is abstract…and as is often the case (refer to PPACA Polling) specifics can contradict the abstract.
    For instance in a CBS/NYTimes poll that agreed on the abstract question;

    “…But by a large margin, the President bests Mitt Romney on helping the middle class,52% to 38%. More voters think President Obama (38%) cares a lot about their needs and problems than think Mitt Romney does (25%)…”

    And Americans by a 2-to-1 margin say raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 per year would both help the economy and make the tax system more fair…this according to a Pew Poll from last week. (Pew may lean left but 2-1?)
    And the fact that the Gallup Poll asked a question that rendered this finding makes me understand why USAToday didn’t link to the poll itself:

    •A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That’s the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.

    Really? Gallup has been asking a question about Obama being an activist since 1992?
    But I think one of the commenters at USAToday nails it:

    “…It’s amazing to me that people think Romney would do better on the economy when he has yet to say anything specific about what he would actually do…”

    Doug is a Romney supporter, even though he doesn’t know what he’ll do. Hell, Romney doesn’t even know what he’ll do. And if he did he would change his mind.

  10. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Implausible deniability strikes again.

  11. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Team Obama is doing precisely what they have to do. They’re pretty good at it, too. You have to give them a lot of credit, at least in a Machiavellian sense. Of course they’re aided tremendously by the lowest common denominator principle.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    “…Romney has the edge when it comes to being able to “get things done”…”

    Well, of course. Because if Romney is elected the Republicans in Congress will stop sabotaging the economy…and everything else for that matter.
    We will go back to growing Government and exploding spending…which Republicans always do.
    The fact that people who support smaller Government and lower spending are against Obama baffles me…because that is what he has done. But Romney does have the stupid vote wrapped up, so there you go.

  13. rudderpedals says:

    I admire your zeal Doug but it’s just one poll.

    Anyone have a link to the poll details?

  14. Dazedandconfused says:

    Don’t live in a swing state, so not seeing many adds, but the Obama ones I saw last night were about the nations wealth pooling in too few hands and being invested overseas. Looks to me, at least in this state, he’s putting the economy front and center.

    What ads have been running where you are, Doug?

  15. JBJB says:

    Obama has been to over 100 fundraisers in the past 6 months, has pandered to just about every known left wing interest group with some form of handout, spent 3x more money than Romney on a series of dubious half-truth commercials, all with the media egging him on and he cant do any better than a 45% approval rating which seems to be trajecting down? That is truly a pathetic performance. At this point he should just resign, and allow Hillary or Biden to run.

  16. bk says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The fact that people who support smaller Government and lower spending are against Obama baffles me…because that is what he has done

    Yeah, I wonder what makes Obama unacceptable in their eyes.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @JBJB: Even if your claim of “half truths” were fully true, that would be a big step up in veracity over Romney’s ads.

  18. Stan says:

    I would like to defend Doug M. He’s a classic liberal, like John Stuart Mill and William Gladstone. He’s against McCarthyism and its modern incarnation as practiced by Michelle Bachmann. He’s for civil liberties. He’s dubious about foreign military adventures. And, like Mill and Gladstone, he’s opposed to government regulations and social welfare expenditure. I personally think he’s living in the wrong century, but I respect his sincerity.

  19. MBunge says:

    @C. Clavin: “Well, of course. Because if Romney is elected the Republicans in Congress will stop sabotaging the economy…and everything else for that matter.”

    That assumption seems to undergird a lot of elite thinking on this election. The problem is that it assumes Romney and a GOP Congress will NOT pursue the very policies, both foreign and domestic, they are currently and have been championing for years and decades.

    Mike

  20. al-Ameda says:

    I think everyone is focused on the economy, and because people can think about more than one thing at a time, many people are concerned that the Romney/Ryan plan will begin the efforts to privatize Medicare, lower the top tax rate from 34% to 25%, and will widen the deficit at the same time.

    I’d say that Romney doesn’t want the focus to be on him or his policies.

  21. john personna says:

    Any “it’s the economy” post fails if it cannot connect to a global slowdown.

    Posts which play on an American President and an American economy in isolation are games, nothing more.

  22. KariQ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t belong to either team, I think they both stink

    Which of course is why you trumpet every poll that has anything that could be bad news for Obama while apparently not noticing those that have good news. Even within a poll, you ignore the danger signs for Romney. I know you believe this, Doug, but I think you are lying to yourself.

  23. Scott F. says:

    @al-Ameda:
    Precisely!

    The subject is The Economy if, and only if, we are talking about “Romney’s strongest argument” in some sort of abstract view absent of any specifics. The candidates proposed policies and the impact those would have on the economy is a diversionary tactic.

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @ Mike Bunge…
    It assumes Republicans will do what they always do…not what they talk about. The two are diametrically opposed.

  25. Modulo Myself says:

    To me, the poll is saying that Romney is a competent but unlikeable and untrustworthy businessman who will screw over the middle class. This seems to explain why Obama is leading in the polls and why he would win in November.

    As far as the ‘not thinking’ goes–read the comments on this website. If somebody is not completely disengaged from reality, if they have some idea what the hell happened in the past four years, they will probably vote for Obama. If they are babbling about daddy figures and zombie America and variations on LOLOBAMAECONOMYSUXXX, they’re in it for Romney.

  26. Nikki says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    What ads have been running where you are, Doug?

    Metro DC here. Virginia is getting slammed with Obama ads, especially the “Firms” one.

  27. JKB says:

    Obama is a nice guy and should do well as a former President once Romney has the economy humming again.

    People still think Carter is a nice guy and he’s a loon. If he’d stayed in for four more years, his incompetence would have been indelible.

    And I’ll admit, all Romney has to do is signal a pull back in the activist government and that he gets people build their own success in our society despite the government and the pent up economic energy will break loose. It won’t break while the Government Man stands ready to siphon off even the hint of successful enterprise

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    Romney is opening up an advantage over the President on the economy

    For some strange reason you haven’t noticed the Pew poll which says the opposite. As reported by Bloomberg:

    Public opinion on which candidate would do a better job of improving economic conditions has shifted from an advantage for Romney in Pew’s June survey to support for Obama in the latest survey of 2,373 registered voters conducted June 28-July 9. “Romney has not seized the advantage as the candidate best able to improve the economy,” the Pew Research Center states in its website report on the survey. “In fact, he has lost ground on the issue over the past month.”

    The questionnaire for that poll is here (pdf). Where is the questionnaire for the poll you’re citing? The questions matter, so it’s a good idea to see them.

    TPM has a summary page listing dozens of polls regarding this point (“Economy”). Those polls taken together don’t show what you’re hoping they show.

  29. G.A. says:

    If you side with the GOP on practically every important issue and are always lukewarm and tepid in criticizing the GOP positions you disagree with, then it doesn’t matter if you claim not to wear the GOP jersey. You’re on that team.

    lol what…

    Also, if all the readers here believe you’re on the GOP team, then you are horrible at expressing your independence. The problem is definitely not with the readers.

    Not all…mostly only the fanatical Obama worshippers…

    And the problem here is mostly what has become of the readers, mostly….

  30. jukeboxgrad says:

    Speaking of trends, Intrade shows a pretty healthy spike for Obama over the last week or so. Here’s my theory: a bunch of people are deciding that Mitt is so committed to hiding his tax returns that he’s going to stick with that decision even if it means losing.

  31. EddieInCA says:

    @JKB:

    Pent up economic energy?

    Really?

    How will it be different under Mitt Romney than it was under George W. Bush?

    Same policies, different man.

    Why would it work better the 2nd time around?

  32. KariQ says:

    @JKB:

    So what’s the weather like there in your alternate reality? Because nothing in the comment is even remotely related to what’s going on in the world I live in.

  33. Pete says:

    @EddieInCA: It may not work any better. The problem is the general electorate is not as enlightened as all the intellectuals who prance around here. They will conclude that the current dunce didn’t get the job done, so let’s try another dunce.

  34. Pete says:

    @KariQ: So, where do you live?

  35. Mr. Replica says:

    Romney is much better off not talking about the economy. While it does put the focus on Obama’s polices, it will also put the focus on what Romney’s plans to do. Policies that only continue to add to the massive problem of the deficit. Plans that reform social programs. Plans that Romney has no desire to talk about.

    Unless a person is a mindless “ANYONE BUT OBAMA!” voter, it will matter that Romney plans on keeping the exact same Neo-Con ideas/policies (that are known to have lead the country into the situation it is now).
    While I am not a fan of what Obama has done for the most part, the question I ask myself is…
    Would I rather want Obama (who is basically a Neo-Con Lite) OR do I want Romney (who is a full blown Neo-Con)?

    The way I see it, it’s either vote to keep the PPACA or vote have it repealed. Other than that, I do not see much of a difference between who I vote for in November.
    As Matt and Trey so eloquently put it years ago. The election is between a shit sandwich and a giant douche. As it always is.

    (Romney may be more hawkish compared to Obama, but it really won’t matter who is sitting in the Oval Office when the war with Iran begins.)

  36. Rick DeMent says:

    I would love Romney to focus on the economy, and I would really like to hear about the specific budget cuts he intends to make. Not the crap about “well, we’ll figure it out after the election crap. If Obama can force Romney into talking about specifics Romney is going to lose. If he can get away with the Scott Walker maneuver, don’t say anything specific until after your in, then he can win. The debates will be interesting.

  37. KariQ says:

    @Pete:

    In a world where the problem with the economy is a global financial crisis that caused an economic collapse that led to a lack of demand, not fear of the big scary guy in the White House threatening to take away ever “hint of successful enterprise” by recklessly increasing the top marginal income tax rate by 4.6%.

  38. An Interested Party says:

    Obama is a nice guy and should do well as a former President once Romney has the economy humming again.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! JKB, you are quite the comedian…exactly how will Romney get the economy to hum?

  39. Dazedandconfused says:

    The way the Romney campaign seeks to have the economic “conversation” structured is: Unless Obama is apologizing for ruining the US economy, he is trying to dodge the subject.

    The sad thing is, this crap will likely prove to be at least partially effective.

  40. jan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “I don’t belong to either team, I think they both stink “

    You wear neutrality well. The problem is that oftentimes articles posted do have an edge towards one or the other, and being the messenger becomes a challenging role, in the midst of a hyper partisan, unforgiving crowd.

    I’m sure in the next day or two there will be something indicating an Obama polling lift, you can post, making everyone here once again feel comfy in ideological bliss.

  41. Modulo Myself says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Apparently one of Romney’s economic advisers is Kevin “Dow 36,000” Hassett. I’m guessing you can probably go read a Phil Gramm speech from 1999 and get the general gist.

    @Dazedandconfused:

    I don’t think it will work as effectively as it had. One of the keys to GOP success has been to run an amiable dunce for whom pity will be felt if any interrogative scrutiny is displayed. Romney is far too smart to be the amiable dunce.

    @jan:

    It reminds me of a terrible joke about Guns and Roses and the first guy they kicked out. Punchline being: “If Slash is saying that your heroin problem has gone out of control, you know you should take a step back or two.”

    Doug, if Jan is commending you for your neutrality, you should probably tighten up the operation a bit and at least try convince everyone else.

  42. anjin-san says:

    the pent up economic energy will break loose

    Perhaps you could go in to a bit more detail. I do a lot of work with CEOs of smaller mid-market companies. You know what I never hear them saying?

    “We need to hire, but Obamacare has made it too risky.”
    “All this new red tape is just killing us.”
    “I don’t really see the point of this anymore, all my hard work will just get taxed away.”

    Get the idea? Now uncertainty is a problem, and there is a lot of capital on the sideline. The terrifying near collapse of the economy in ’08 created a lot of uncertainly and fear that is still with us. Banks are hoarding cash, after watching what happened to Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and WAMU, having a pile of cash on hand makes some sense. The fake debt ceiling crisis and subsequent downgrade was gasoline on the uncertainty fire.

    So perhaps you can tell us more about pent up energy, how Obama is holding it back (specifics, please, not right wing talk radio bromides) and give us some details on how Romney will straighten it out. He is a bit light on specifics too. What we know right now is that he is rich, he used to run Bain, which he says proves he is the man for the job, but he can’t go into much detail about it, and he has great hair. That does not quite equal a solid array of policy proposals.

  43. Pete says:

    @KariQ: @KariQ: Oh, I agree that the tax increase is peanuts. That’s not the point. Raising those taxes is a hollow attempt to appeal to Obama’s base; nothing more. It won’t solve our debt problem. The problem in this country is far bigger than this silly season of partisan bickering. The political debate today is a sophomoric diversion from the real problems. And the brain dead public has no clue.

  44. Moosebreath says:

    “exactly how will Romney get the economy to hum”

    There won’t be a script, so it will have to just follow the tune?

  45. An Interested Party says:

    I’m sure in the next day or two there will be something indicating an Obama polling lift, you can post, making everyone here once again feel comfy in ideological bliss.

    No doubt with you denouncing said poll as nothing but ideological propaganda…

  46. jan says:

    @An Interested Party:

    “No doubt with you denouncing said poll as nothing but ideological propaganda… “

    I actually don’t do that. If the ratios are off, dem versus R, or it deals with RV versus LV, then that might be worthy to discuss and point out. Other than that, it’s pretty useless.

  47. anjin-san says:

    Hey Jan, show us where Obama said “America is not exceptional”.

    No one likes a liar Jan. Except for Jenos and Drew.

  48. swbarnes2 says:

    @Stan:

    I would like to defend Doug M…. He’s for civil liberties.

    I’m not sure where you are getting this. Doug admitted he had no regrets voting for a guy who killed anti-discrimination laws for gay people, and who wanted to force all women seeking an abortion to get painful, invasive, medically unnecessary vaginal probes.

    How does voting for people who implement those policies equal supporting civil rights?

  49. I feel like some people didn’t really get this prediction from 1943:

    The rate of interest or income tax [might be] reduced in a slump but not increased in the subsequent boom. In this case the boom will last longer, but it must end in a new slump: one reduction in the rate of interest or income tax does not, of course, eliminate the forces which cause cyclical fluctuations in a capitalist economy. In the new slump it will be necessary to reduce the rate of interest or income tax again and so on. Thus in the not too remote future, the rate of interest would have to be negative and income tax would have to be replaced by an income subsidy. The same would arise if it were attempted to maintain full employment by stimulating private investment: the rate of interest and income tax would have to be reduced continuously.

    Neither party is running to break that cycle, but it seems particularly bad to double down.

    It also seems particularly bad to fight a global downturn with domestic reductions to interest and tax.

  50. Stan says:

    @swbarnes2: I couldn’t sleep, and then on top of it I see I was wrong about Doug’s devotion to civil liberties. Is DM a principaled libertarian, or simply an articulate Neanderthal? It’s an intriguing question.

  51. superdestroyer says:

    @bk:

    I find it odd that the Democrats are saying they really care about jobs when they cheer the idea of fewer healthcare, defense, manufacturing, energy laying people off.

    Do Democrats really believe that everyone can have a job as a cubicle worker for the government.

  52. superdestroyer says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    The purpose of those ads is to create support for higher taxes and more government spending.

    The real question is how can the U.S. function is most of the population is getting more from the government than they are paying in. How high will deficits have to go to sustain the current welfare state and to create the level of public sectors benefits that progressives seem to want.

  53. Pete says:

    This is the debate we all should be having: http://dailycapitalist.com/2012/07/23/broke-bank-mountain/

  54. sam says:

    @JKB:

    And I’ll admit, all Romney has to do is signal a pull back in the activist government and that he gets people build their own success in our society despite the government

    Ah, you mean like this star of one of Mitt’s commercials? Star of Romney ‘My Hands Didn’t Build This’ Ad Received Millions in Government Loans and Contracts:

    In a new TV ad, Romney features an offended New Hampshire businessman, saying, “My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company?”

    The New Hampshire Union Leader’s John DiStato today reports that in 1999 the business in question, Gilchrist Metal, “received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority ‘to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment’…” In addition, in 2011, Gilchrist Metal “received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller, $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008…”

    And from the Union Leader article cited:

    [Gilchrist] also said his company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000 in the late 1980s.

    He said his business has also received matching funds from the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NETAAC), which is federally-funded.

    I’m afraid Mitt’s a fraud and so is his campaign.

  55. JKB says:

    @sam:

    Sorry, ABC is the fraud. If you add up the money that company got selling their products to the government and also benefiting from loans designed to induce them to manufacture their products in high cost New England, you get just shy of $1.9 million. Now, I wasn’t educated in the new math but back when I was in school, you had to have 2 or more million to have millions.

    In any case, the loans no doubt assisted the company to be successful in New England but might have achieved the same by moving to a more business friendly environment. The sales should have been made based on the utility of their product at a competitive prices. If not, the problem lies with government.

  56. jukeboxgrad says:

    If you add up the money that company got selling their products to the government and also benefiting from loans designed to induce them to manufacture their products in high cost New England, you get just shy of $1.9 million.

    The original article says this:

    He said his business has also received matching funds from the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NETAAC), which is federally-funded.

    Why did you omit that item?

  57. C. Clavin says:

    Jan sez about Doug:

    “…You wear neutrality well…”

    Of course this is a woman that thinks Breitbart was the paragon of neutrality…so consider the source of the delusion…

  58. stonetools says:

    Doug misses the point. The anti-Bain ads aren’t diversionary for the average voter. When the average voter makes a choice for President, they’re picking the man as much as-or even more than-the policy . The Anti-Bain ads are meant to establish that Mitt Romney is more than just a successful business man who wants you to vote for him-he’s part of the problem of jobs moving overseas. The focus on his tax returns is meant to show that he has benefited from a tax system that rewards all sorts of financial chicanery like offshore tax shelters, rather than investing in American factories. If you are going to engage in a policy debate about matters like tax fairness and creating jobs in the US, these ads are’nt in the least diversionary -they’re setting the stage for debate in a way that the average voter can understand.
    I’m sure Doug as a policy wonk wants the campaigners to make big speeches studded with arcane terminology and acronyms like GDP, PPP, TVM , etc, but if you are campaigning for the average voter, that approach is a disaster. I expect that there will be some of that later, but you have to define your opponent and the terms of the debate first.
    Right now, the voters who are picking Romney as better able to deal with the economy are voters who know neither Romney or his economic plan-rather, they are voters who know the economy sucks , and that they want a change. Once the Presidential campaign introduces him as Mr. Bain who got rich outsourcing jobs and who wants to cut taxes on the rich and make Medicare a voucher plan, those numbers will move.

  59. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    In any case, the loans no doubt assisted the company to be successful in New England but might have achieved the same by moving to a more business friendly environment. The sales should have been made based on the utility of their product at a competitive prices. If not, the problem lies with government.

    The facts are that the build-it-themselfers had explicit government help. You can’t spin that way, no matter how hard you try. Of course , as Obama and Warren point out, ALL businesses have at the very least implicit government help. Its “what the Romans have done for us”-roads, water, sanitation, education for the workforce, public order, and of course peace.

    Frankly, you and Romney just make yourself look silly even denying the governmental role in any business success.

  60. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    once Romney has the economy humming again.

    LOL! Sure, once he cuts the top rate from 34% to 25%, begins the privatization of Medicare, increases the deficit, and widens our deficit spending – everything will be humming again.

  61. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Still waiting for some specifics on the Romney economic plan…

    And now some words of wisdom from Mitt:

    “You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power.”

    — Mitt Romney, quoted by NBC News, during his speech at the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

  62. sam says:

    @JKB:

    In any case, the loans no doubt assisted the company to be successful in New England but might have achieved the same by moving to a more business friendly environment.

    And if Napoleon had had tanks, he would have won at Waterloo.

  63. JKB says:

    @stonetools: “… even denying the governmental role in any business success.”

    No one is denying the benefits of roads, police, fire, the military, education etc. in helping business. In fact, the local business men funded government for these services for the very fact to help the business climate in the area in general and create an area where people would like to live and work.

    However, business is not success because of those services. Nor do business strive to not pay for those services. Rather, it is all the other anti-business “services” that make the government on net, a hindrance rather than benefit to a successful enterprise.

    You can build all the roads, staff all the police and fire, educate all the kids, but until the man or woman comes along with an idea and a willingness to take a risk, all you have is tax expenditures without any tax revenues. You also have a whole lot of the “rest of us” who don’t pay taxes because they don’t have any earnings because there aren’t any jobs that don’t depend on the non-existent tax revenues.

    If you have a successful city or state or federal government, government employees didn’t build that, somebody else did that, namely the business people who pay taxes to have nice things in their community did that along with the workers they employ who pay taxes.

    Look at Detroit, they want to de-annex vast areas. The roads remain, the police remain, the fire department remains, the school system remains, but the people left because the productive enterprises left. Government remains but success has moved on with the businesses.

  64. anjin-san says:

    However, business is not success because of those services.

    On the other hand, it can’t exist without them, can it?

  65. bk says:

    @JKB:

    It won’t break while the Government Man stands ready to siphon off even the hint of successful enterprise

    So, what you are saying basically is let’s get rid of taxes on businesses, right? I guess we can always rely on a thousand points of light to build infrastructure.

  66. Moosebreath says:

    @swbarnes2:

    “How does voting for people who implement those policies equal supporting civil rights?”

    Because like the vast majority of self-proclaimed Libertarians I have dealt with, both on the net and in real life, Doug is willing to trade all manner of civil liberties and reproductive liberties for a decrease in the marginal tax rate.

  67. sam says:

    @JKB:

    You do realize that you’re essentially making Obama’s argument here, right?

  68. anjin-san says:

    A bit more about Hank Rearden Jack Gilchrist and his business:

    He also said his company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000 in the late 1980s.

    He said his business has also received matching funds from the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (NETAAC), which is federally-funded.

    Gilchrist said about 10 percent of his company’s contracts are defense-related.

    Bottom line, this guy has his hand in the public till. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, public/private partnership is part of the system. But when your story confirms what Obama said, it is a tad disingenuous to go on TV talking about how wrong Obama is…

  69. Nikki says:

    @JKB:

    Rather, it is all the other anti-business “services” that make the government on net, a hindrance rather than benefit to a successful enterprise.

    Such as?

  70. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: Still waiting for some specifics on the Romney economic plan…

    As I don’t work for the Romney campaign, I can hardly give you specifics.

    Intuitively, however, just having someone who doesn’t run around saying “all your success belong to us” would be very stimulating. A sincere pledge to curtail the capricious and arbitrary actions of the regulatory agencies would be very stimulating. A legitimate effort to curtail spending and control the deficit spending would be very stimulating.

    I know those things are terrifying to you but that is why we need to put the adults back in charge. Adults do what works within realistic constraints. Children stamp their feet and scream, “Give me more, give me more”.

  71. Nikki says:

    Children stamp their feet and scream, “Give me more, give me more”.

    Yeah. I wish the 1% would stop whining and pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us.

  72. jukeboxgrad says:

    jkb:

    Sorry, ABC is the fraud.

    Sorry, you are the fraud. What you said here is bogus. I explained why here. When are you going to retract or explain your bogus claim?

  73. Barry says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Of course they’re aided tremendously by the lowest common denominator principle. ”

    Your whine is sweet, with a hint of ‘Mom! He hit back!’.

  74. anjin-san says:

    I know those things are terrifying to you

    Any time you want to get together and compare notes on our respective careers in the business world, I am up for it. As I commented above, I spend a lot of my time working directly with CEO’s.

    put the adults back in charge

    Ah yes, the adults. The ones who led us to the brink of a depression. Good plan.

    As I don’t work for the Romney campaign, I can hardly give you specifics.

    Is his economic plan a closely guarded secret? You want him to be in change, but you have no idea what he will do once in charge? How very adult of you…

  75. jukeboxgrad says:

    ALL businesses have at the very least implicit government help. Its “what the Romans have done for us”-roads, water, sanitation, education for the workforce, public order, and of course peace.

    Adam Smith explained a long time ago that one of the core functions of government is to protect the rich. He said this:

    It is in the age of shepherds, in the second period of society, that the inequality of fortune first begins to take place, and introduces among men a degree of authority and subordination which could not possibly exist before. It thereby introduces some degree of that civil government which is indispensably necessary for its own preservation: and it seems to do this naturally, and even independent of the consideration of that necessity. The consideration of that necessity comes no doubt afterwards to contribute very much to maintain and secure that authority and subordination. The rich, in particular, are necessarily interested to support that order of things which can alone secure them in the possession of their own advantages. … Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.

    “Inequality of fortune” tends to lead to “subordination.” And civil government tends to spring up for the sake of preserving that “inequality of fortune.” Therefore government has a natural tendency to act “for the defence of the rich against the poor.” Government is generally set up by the rich “to support that order of things which can alone secure them in the possession of their own advantages.”

    More about how government was invented to protect the rich, and how it is the rich who depend on the power of the government:

    Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labour of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a single night in security. He is at all times surrounded by unknown enemies, whom, though he never provoked, he can never appease, and from whose injustice he can be protected only by the powerful arm of the civil magistrate continually held up to chastise it. The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore, necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. Where there is no property, or at least none that exceeds the value of two or three days labour, civil government is not so necessary.

    Didn’t Smith know that a rising tide lifts all boats? Didn’t he ever hear about trickle-down economics? If he had, he would not have said “for one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.” Socialist!

    The rich people who want to drown government in a bathtub are forgetting why it was invented in the first place: to protect them. And they forget one of the reasons it’s proper for them to pay more for it: because they depend on the power of government more than anyone else does.

    Smith can be read here.

  76. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…
    Please link to where anyone said

    “…all your success belong to us…”

    which is what your quotations indicate.

  77. Still reading “Debt, the first 5,000 years” which makes the point, repeatedly, and convincingly that:

    Money and tax were invented together.

    People who desire money, without tax, should probably think about that. Governments actually got people hooked on money so that they could make tax a debt. Prior to that people tended to have looser and non-economic rules for resource distribution, including things wedding feasts and ritual gift exchanges.

    All these retreats to false first principles imagine a land that never existed. They imagine people in a complete and prosperous trading society but one to which government, tax, and all that infrastructure had never arrived.

    No such place ever existed.

  78. JKB says:

    @sam: You do realize that you’re essentially making Obama’s argument here, right?

    Really, perhaps you will explain Obama’s argument as that is not how I see it.

    Obama and Warren spoke of how no one could be successful without government. I’ve pointed out that government can’t exist without productive enterprise but that productive enterprise can create the services government provides if need be. The fact that local business people came together to create services independent of any one owner and available to even those who don’t contribute directly at a lower cost than duplicate services at each enterprise does not make the businesses dependent on government but rather government is dependent upon the businesses. That the relationship is symbiotic does not demonstrate that success means the businesses should pay more or in progressive parlance, “give back more”.

    The debate is over how much government is of benefit to citizens and private enterprise and how much is a drain on the People and their right to profit from their hard work and ideas.

  79. @JKB:

    The fact that local business people came together to create services independent of any one owner and available to even those who don’t contribute directly at a lower cost than duplicate services at each enterprise does not make the businesses dependent on government but rather government is dependent upon the businesses

    That never happened.

    Not that is, unless you understand “people came together” to mean “people created government.:”

  80. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: But when your story confirms what Obama said, it is a tad disingenuous to go on TV talking about how wrong Obama is…

    Well, government contracts only means he produces goods and services of value to the Defense Department.

    As for loans, etc., we’ve only to look to Soylandra and other Obama “loans” to see that massive government “partnership” doesn’t create success. A successful business person can benefit from these government programs, but the success belongs to the business person. However, an Obama crony can get rich from these programs, but you’d hardly call the company a success, looted perhaps but not a success.

  81. al-Ameda says:

    Romney is a phony.

    The only reason the Salt Lake City Olympics succeeded was because of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money. Romney needed Uncle Sugar to make it happen. It did not happen because of private sector largesse.

  82. anjin-san says:

    As for loans, etc., we’ve only to look to Soylandra and other Obama “loans” to see that massive government “partnership” doesn’t create success.

    Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. There are a lot of failures in business – always.

    looted

    You should probably avoid talking about business – we have already seen “Atlas Shrugged for Dummies” here many times, you are not covering any new ground.

  83. JKB says:

    @john personna: Not that is, unless you understand “people came together” to mean “people created government.:”

    Exactly, and then this “government” became self-aware and turned on its creators. Denying it’s origins, government sought to be master over that which it was created to serve, The People. Government became ravenous and sought to consume all that was produced feeding the people seduced by its charm its excrement. Soon all that was productive had been consumed and only government remained with a host of dependent parasites gnawing upon on its wasting flesh.

  84. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. There are a lot of failures in business – always.

    But we are told business is a success because the government provides roads, police, etc. These things are available to all businesses how can there be a lot of failures. The Obama has said that it isn’t dependent upon hard work or good ideas as many have those. Why do these businesses fail?

  85. @JKB:

    Can you name a successful market democracy that was not first a successful monarchy?

    I’m pretty sure the progression went the other way, with increasing trust in markets. That was Smith’s contribution and evangelism, that we don’t need “the folly of princes.”

    The thing to understand is that radical libertarians want to keep going in that direction, to abandon everything but the market, and the raw power of the state (through coercion) to enforce markets.

    That libertarian ideal has never existed in the past, it is a radical vision for the future. They want to abandon a lot of things mainstream people think of as “working.” They are not at all “if it ain’t broke” kinda guys.

  86. @JKB:

    You know, all of us here probably had some dukes, and knights, or chiefs, in our past. But certainly we all had some peasants as well. In the past, your forefathers weren’t worried about retaining their property, they were property.

    Another tidbit via the “debt” book:

    Freeman, in Middle English synonymous with franklin, an individual not tied to land under medieval serfdom, unlike a villein or serf

  87. jukeboxgrad says:

    JKB, I’m still waiting for you to explain this fraudulent claim you made:

    ABC is the fraud.

    I explained your fraud here.

    You’re doing a good job of proving you don’t expect to be taken seriously.

  88. C. Clavin says:

    All you really need to know about this is that Bain took millions (perhaps billions?) in corporate welfare from the Government, and that Romney actually agrees with Obama when he isn’t too busy distorting (lying about) what the President said to acknoledge it.
    After that it’s a pointless discussion.

  89. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug citing usatoday:

    The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns.

    Except that there are some other findings that raise questions about those questions:

    Sustained attacks by President Barack Obama’s campaign on Republican rival Mitt Romney’s business history and refusal to release more tax records appear to be working, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

  90. KansasMom says:

    Jukebox, you clearly don’t understand how this game is played. What Smith clearly meant was:
    “The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. He is at all times surrounded by unknown enemies, whom, though he never provoked, he can never appease, therefore, civil government is not so necessary.”
    Or something like that anyway. Context is way overrated.

  91. bk says:

    @JKB:

    having someone who doesn’t run around saying “all your success belong to us” would be very stimulating.

    That’s odd. I have never heard Obama say that, ever. Nor have I ever heard him “apologize for America”. You must be privy to information that the rest of us don’t have (like the voices in your head, maybe).

  92. bk says:

    @JKB:

    Obama has said that it isn’t dependent upon hard work or good ideas as many have those

    Another thing that he has never said.

  93. anjin-san says:

    But we are told business is a success because the government provides roads, police, etc.

    Really? Who said that? It was not Obama. Are you a dupe falling for the BS that Fox is peddling, or do you know better and are simply a liar?

  94. anjin-san says:

    Mitt Romney told CNBC that voters who want a strong economy should vote for him, but Americans “ought to give, whichever president is going to be elected, at least six months or a year to get those policies in place.”

    Steve Benen: “Throughout the presidential campaign, Romney has said the clock should start in February 2009, Obama’s first month in office. If that’s fair — if the president deserves the blame for every job lost on his 11th day in office — it’s true that under Obama, the economy is still in a deep hole and hasn’t fully recovered from the losses of early 2009.”

    “But look what happens when we start the clock, as Romney suggests, six months to a year after President Obama was sworn in. In fact, if we don’t hold Obama’s first year against him, the economy has added over 3.7 million jobs overall during his presidency, and over 4.2 million in the private sector. That’s not the count by my standard; that’s the count by Romney’s standard.”

    http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/07/24/when_to_start_the_clock_on_job_creation.html

  95. jukeboxgrad says:

    Throughout the presidential campaign, Romney has said the clock should start in February 2009, Obama’s first month in office

    Benen is giving Mitt too much credit. Mitt has made claims about the debt which embody the idea that Obama is fully responsible for FY09. FY09 started before Obama was even elected.

  96. stonetools says:

    @bk:

    That’s odd. I have never heard Obama say that, ever. Nor have I ever heard him “apologize for America”. You must be privy to information that the rest of us don’t have (like the voices in your head, maybe).

    I think that JKB is listening to bearded Obama , from the mirror universe, not to the one here on Earth Prime. That’s my explanation for why he holds Obama responsible for statements that no one else has ever heard him say.

  97. anjin-san says:

    I think that JKB is listening to bearded Obama

    Nah, he’s just listening to Fox, and he is not bright enough to know he’s being played.