Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, June 15, 2012.
Let’s listen to 32 seconds of President Obama at a news conference from the week of June 4. (Listen here.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “As I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months – over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. [EMPHASIS ADDED] Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy, ah, have to do with state and local governments, ah, oftentimes, uh, cuts initiated by, ah, you know, governors or mayors not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government.”
The private sector is not doing fine. No one who is out of work, no one who is worried that his or her job may soon evaporate, no one whose income is stagnant or declining even as prices rise, no owner of a small business at which holding revenues flat is a considered a major victory and no recent graduate looking for a first job needs to be told that the private sector is not doing fine.
Yet when the howls went up after he made such a risible statement, rather than simply say he misspoke, the president tried to spin it, saying that what he meant was that relative to the problems in public sector employment, the private sector is doing fine.
But that’s not true, either. Private sector jobs are still down 4.6 million from 2008 while government jobs are down by just 407,000 and while federal employment has actually increased by 11.4 percent.
Only someone with a faculty lounge worldview could say with a straight face that the problem facing the economy derives from the fact that state and local governments need more money from the federal government in order to hire more government workers.
The real headline in all of this is the fact that Obama truly believes that the key to national prosperity is to expand government at all levels. From the perspective of a man with this belief, the private sector, no matter how beset, is nevertheless “doing fine” not because it actually is doing fine but because the private sector doesn’t matter. It’s like the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company saying that the sales of TaB, (the 1960s diet cola which is still being made), are doing fine because in the scheme of things at Coca-Cola, TaB doesn’t matter.
Obama believes that the private sector is TaB (not important) and that the public sector is Coca-Cola (supremely important). He truly believes that for there to be prosperity state and local governments must expand even as the federal government expands. The president recognizes that state and local governments almost without exception are bound by balanced budget laws. But since budget deficits of Biblical proportion at the federal level do not phase him in the least, Obama sees the problem as something for the federal government to solve by showering money upon cities, counties and states.
All so that Obama can speak in sonorous tones about hiring more police officers and firefighters while in the real world state and local governments will use any money they get from Washington to avoid laying off bureaucrats.
Obama accuses Mitt Romney and the Republicans of being out of touch with average Americans. Yet he fails to recognize that average Americans consist not of rent-seeking victim groups but rather of entrepreneurs and salesmen and restaurant owners and dry cleaners and shopkeepers and sign makers and construction tradesmen and family farmers. That they all get up every day and keep trying, even after years of little to no reward, is testament to the spirit and character of the American people.
That the President of the United States understands none of this is stark testament to the fact that it is he who is cosmically out of touch.