My cynical side tells me that Mr. Obama knowingly lies in his speeches. But then again, maybe he just does not understand business and history. By now, it is obvious to all American’s that Mr. Obama knows very little about basic business principles. Whether his errant rhetoric is dishonesty or lack of knowledge, does the distinction matter? Just below is the subtext of a brief WSJ editorial that reads:
“The Internet made Microsoft possible, and other tall tales.”
Mr. Obama runs fast and loose with business terminology all along the trail. Have you not heard him use the term “invest” or “investment” sprinkled among his other favorite words “fair” and “fairness?”
The very first thought I had when reading this piece was, “Did Al Gore coach Mr. Obama ahead of this speech?”
Today’s Journal carried an editorial called Obama’s History of Business that effectively calls into question his knowledge of business technology and his integrity:
[…] So eager is he to make this point that, well, let’s just say he sometimes wanders beyond his area of expertise, as he did last Thursday in Seattle.
“When I hear people talk about the free enterprise system and entrepreneurship, I try to remind them, you know, all of us made that investment in Darpa [the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] that helped to get the Internet started,” said Mr. Obama. “So there’s no Facebook, there’s no Microsoft, there’s no Google if we hadn’t made this common investment in our future.”
Microsoft—a product of the Internet? That may surprise Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who founded the software company in 1975. The company didn’t introduce its first Internet browser for another 20 years, and in the meantime it became the dominant computer software company long before the Internet became economically important. The irony of Mr. Obama’s error is that for much of Microsoft’s history the Internet was seen as a threat to its desktop dominance.
There’s no doubt that Darpa has done many good things, but the point Mr. Obama misses is that Darpa is engaged in funding research. This is a proper role for government, especially on national defense. But Darpa does not attempt to commercialize products. Facebook and Google, like Apple and Microsoft, were founded by private investors.
The President likes to elide that distinction between government funding for basic research and commercialization, which is how his Administration lost so much money on stinkers like Solyndra.
Mr. Obama indulged in similar government hype in his January State of the Union address when he suggested that federal research spending “led to the computer chip.” Perhaps federal research made a contribution, but credit for building the first integrated circuit has generally been given to Jack Kilby at a company called Texas Instruments in 1958. Other innovations came from Bell Labs, Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, among many other private firms.
The problem here is less Mr. Obama’s historical errors than his emphasis. He really does believe that prosperity flows from government, which is why all of his policies promote more government.
Just last week Mr. Obama told Americans that what is important is not whether you are better off today but whether you will be better off in the future (presumably hoping they will press “forward” with him again).
The answer to his rhetorical question is: “Yes! The future will be much brighter and all will be far better off with President Mitt Romney as our 45th President of the United States!”
“Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of trick and duplicity, than straightforward and simple integrity in another.” ~ Charles Caleb Colton