There is no doubt this year's election is all about the economy, from jobs to debt, but I think we might also see voters react to basic principles as well. The mishandling of the contraceptive issue by the White House probably created a seam in the electorate that has sensed their rights fading but has missed the degree because of all the finger pointing and noise that makes day to day life like watching World Cup soccer in Johannesburg. The noise and the sales job simply weighs on people to the point that they either completely tune out or succumb and make a purchase they'll regret later. But the idea that social issues aren't connected to financial issues has always baffled me.
I think there is something anti-social about promoting victimhood and anger in any environment but more so in a recession or near recession. This is the moment for leaders to forget vanity and rigid ideology. You see, policies coming out of the White House are in fact mean-spirited notions of punishment loosely wrapped in the guise of economic policy. The unrelenting attack on successful individuals and business under the banner of fairness is the scariest part of it all. A lot of people are getting duped and that could mean our doom. In some ways this is reminiscent of "The Emperor's New Suit" by Hans Christian Andersen; someone keeps telling President Obama this war on business and success is somehow going to help the economy, but even those in the inner circle that know that is not true are also chiming in with agreement.
In this particular tale there was an emperor that lived many years ago and whose only passion was clothes. He didn't show interest in the arts, military or other "royal" endeavors. He had a coat for every hour of the day. The kingdom was peaceful and wealthy and a beacon for travelers from around the world. One day a couple of those travelers were swindlers with an ingenious plan that could only work through manipulation of pride and ego. They claimed to be weavers and announced they could make the finest cloth ever imagined. They boasted that the cloth was so special it was invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or just plain stupid.
This of course piqued the emperor's interest as he not only could have a great suit made from this unique cloth, but it would also help him weed out people throughout his empire not fit for their positions. The suit would become a stupid-detector. With that Eureka moment, the emperor ordered the weavers to work at once. The two grifters set up a couple of looms and pretended to be hard at work making the garment with this exquisite cloth. In addition to working their magic with their cloth, the weavers asked for the finest silk and precious gold-cloth. Then the trap was set into its next stage. It was time to test egos.
First up was an old minister whom they asked about their garment. He saw there was nothing because the weavers hadn't used any material but remembered that admitting to not seeing anything would be tantamount to admitting incompetence or even worse- that you were just plain old stupid. So, after a pause, the old minister gushed over the beauty of the garment. The weavers accepted the praise and even went so far as to explain their workmanship and design. Then it was back to the empty looms to complete the project.
Soon other members of the emperor's inner-circle saw the non-existing garment and all agreed the patterns were amazing and the colors brilliant.
Soon word made its way through the empire and there was rapt anticipation over its eventual debut. But first, the emperor had to see and then wear the garment. When the emperor came into the room with the empty looms several advisors immediately asked if he loved the patterns and wonderful work of these two would-be haberdasheries. Each advisor and member of the inner circle was fearful they were the only ones that couldn't see the garment, so each gushed about its wonder. Now, it was the emperor's turn.
Pausing initially with thoughts racing through his mind about being stupid or even worse, not fit to be ruler, the emperor began to sing the praises of the garment. The swindlers, with ice water running through their veins, asked the emperor to remove his clothes and put on the new brilliant garment - and he obliged. The suit fit great and moved with the ease of no other garment. Now it was time to debut the garment in public and so the chambermaids lifted the heavy, yet non-existent, train and marched behind the emperor who walked under a canopy. The crowds were stunned but feared speaking what they saw - or didn't see.
Finally, a child in the crowd shirked "but he has nothing on at all" and this freed the crowd to join in unison that the emperor was indeed wearing no clothes. Still, the emperor, who by now knew this was true, kept a brave face and marched back in his non-existing suit.
That brings us to our leader and his non-existing clothes. His policies yield nothing but despair and harsher times yet nobody in the inner circle is speaking out. Moreover, the media has become so invested in this deception it cannot change course, either. It's nothing but an avalanche of taxes and spending. It just never stops. There is now talk of a minimum tax on multinationals that would do to them what the Buffett Rule does to millionaires - bring them to their knees. We aren't talking about breaking the truly rich corporations and (real) millionaires in an economic way, but bringing them down a notch in stature and influence.
In the meantime, alternative energy is the garment that has been sold to the White House as something so specially that if you don't see it you are unfit to lead or simply stupid. Hence, the disdain the left has for those that can't understand why we'd risk a trade war with China on solar panels but let that nation rip off every other American industry from computer chips to golf clubs. Mere mortals are supposed to see the benefits and cheer when the government writes yet another check to a company destined for the dustbin. Not only is the administration walking around proudly over the lost of billions associated with alternative energy but also it's pledging to double down.
Hans Christian Andersen would have thought such a twist in the story too farfetched even for a fable.
Now we hear the White House is looking to bump the bribe to purchase a Volt to $10,000 from $7,500. It's really amazing. Once again the free market plays no role, and then the emperor sees wonder and beauty and we're all supposed to fall in line. Not so ironically this is a bribe that lines the pockets of rich liberals, the key demographic buying Volts. Those so-called Middle Class taxpayers the president is always talking about protecting are footing the bill so the elite can meet at the Vineyard and toast to their commitment to saving the planet. Soon they may be able to fuel up their private jets with a friendly fossil-based gas.
If 10,000 Volts are sold this year it would cost taxpayers $100.0 million. If President Obama's goal of 1,000,000 Volts is reached by 2015, folks driving Ford F-150's will fork over $10.0 billion.
It doesn't just stop with alternative energy but also goes to crime and punishment. The crime is making money, working hard, creating jobs, and bringing innovation to life; and the punishment is higher taxes and demonization. The idea to go after corporations with money offshore before they repatriate it goes against the creator of the deferred rule and one of the greatest presidents ever - John F Kennedy.
"In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment."
- John F. Kennedy, April 20, 1961, message to Congress on taxation
Not only did JFK understand the need for US corporations to be able to defer overseas income because it helped them compete, but he also understood our aggressive tax system hurt our economy, especially when we need to put it into recovery mode.
"Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort - thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."
- John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.
In this updated version of the "Emperor" he still has no clothes and America will have no future. There is no moral or morale to this story. It's all wealth redistribution and pet projects and dead end spending, all topped off with heavy doses of vitriol.