The One Question President Obama Must Answer Before America Reelects Him

By Mark Fidelman

President Obama has been attacked for not turning the economy around even after his promise to do so. Let’s cut him some slack. He probably believes Republican obstructionism is to blame, and he’s done everything possible during his first term. Just give him four more years, he pleads, it will all work out.

But don’t you get the feeling as I do that Obama’s new economic strategy resembles an infomercial pitch? Just a little of this, a sprinkle of that, and presto a new economy. Before, President Obama ran on hope and change, now he appears to be running on just hope: “We’ve come too far to turn back now,” he tells us.

I know Obama genuinely wants to grasp the economic strategies required to lead us out of a lousy economy and that if only government were to take charge, it could fix everything. Just sprinkle some green fairy dust across the energy sector, wave a magic job wand at small business, take the wealth potion from the rich and give it to the poor. The damsel is in economic distress, and Obama is relying on medieval enchantments for our survival.

Only in fairy tales are emperors advised that they are naked. And Obama’s advisors aren’t breaking with tradition. One gets the feeling they received the Berlitz learning method to business. They understand the language, but not the meaning. According to New York Times columnist David Brooks, while speaking to a group of us about Obama’s closest advisors: “there isn’t a single person with business experience amongst them.”

In 2008, no one dreamed the country would be left behind. We all thought we’d be better off; we’d be smarter, he’d bring the country together, he’d bring congress together for a bipartisan agenda. It hasn’t happened.

Obama has notably said, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.” He’s not saying that anymore.

But there’s still hope. He can give a straight forward answer to the following bipartisan question – It’s never too late to keep a campaign promise.

What Will You Do Differently to Fix the Economy in the Next Four Years?

Obama seems to be taking his economic cues from Paul Krugman and the school of “Hope” economics. Krugman is who all left-leaning politicians point to in order to receive approval for their economic policies. He is their gold standard – and the gold plating they wrap around any economic legislation for which they want to insulate themselves from ridicule.

In reality though, there is no such person as Paul Krugman, there is only a shell containing the opinions of his cocktail party friends and the novels of economic fantasy worlds he had read. A man so responsive to compulsion that he has become a kind of compulsion himself to anything resembling a liberal economic idea. His instinctively leftist political agenda blinds him from being a truly objective economic advisor – and so he can’t be trusted to provide sound economic advice.

Take his 2008 article titled: The ComeBack Continent. In short, Krugman believed that the economic path forward resembled a European, nanny-state model, telling us not to worry because, “If you think Europe is a place where lots of able-bodied adults just sit at home collecting welfare checks, think again.”

Later in the article, Krugman goes on to call the situation in 2008 a European comeback, crediting its “big-government” approach to its success. Incredibly, he ends the article with, “But the next time a politician tries to scare you with the European bogeyman, bear this in mind: Europe’s economy is actually doing O.K. these days, despite a level of taxing and spending beyond the wildest ambitions of American progressives.”

But we should be scared. Shortly thereafter Europe’s economy started to collapse, and the most welfare-prone countries fell the hardest and fastest. Oddly, Krugman is still promoting the same naïve, ineffective policies that have Europe on the ropes.

As a kid, I used to believe in Robin Hood. I mean I truly believed in him. Krugman still does. He hasn’t learned how the story actually ends because he’s never participated in it. He’s been an academic, an author, an economist but never a businessman. He’s never built a business, worried about keeping the lights on or suffered hardship from taxing government policies. His solution to any economic issue is wealth redistribution. He’s of the “you didn’t build that somebody else made that happen” school of thought.

This is the kind of brainwashing you still find at the elite universities. The rest of us living in the real world know better. Because on our side we have reason, experience and concrete business strategies that work. For us, government gets in the way, it doesn’t pave it.

So Obama must move away from Krugmanomics and set a new course. One lined with less government and more business. Because in the final analysis, business leaders are held accountable for their success – not government bureaucrats. If business performance suffers, the government gets a free pass even if it’s the primary problem. This authority without responsibility situation is incompatible with a thriving economy.

Obama still needs to learn this lesson.

Mark Fidelman’s forthcoming, critically acclaimed book is: Socialized, How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.
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Compelling Reasons for Romney! Guest Author: Terry Ryan

Rob and Terry Ryan are dear friends and rank among America’s pre-eminent entrepreneurs, having successfully built many billion dollar companies. During a recent visit with the Ryan’s, Terry mentioned her recent presentation about Mitt Romney to the Pachyderm Club of Missoula, Montana. At my request Terry shared her message and with her permission we print it here. As an attorney, Terry provides a compelling and succinct argument in Mitt’s favor.

Hello, I am Terry Ryan and I am the Women for Romney Chair for Montana.

My husband and I have lived the American Dream.

Rob was born in Fort Apache in the Bronx. You’ve seen the movie… it is the worst slum in America.

We met when we were freshmen at Cornell University and married after graduation. I supported Rob through graduate school. However, when Rob was a graduate student, he had to work full time at the same time to pay off his undergraduate loans. You see immediate repayment was mandatory back then.

We learned from that experience and saved my law school tuition in advance. After my graduation we moved from Boston to Silicon Valley where Rob won a major award his very first year at Intel Corp. for authoring the IEEE specification for Ethernet.

Because of the award, he was recruited as ‘Vice President of Engineering’ by a start up, then, fired less than a year later. It was 1981. The Country was still suffering the Carter Malaise. Unable to find work, he was forced to start his first company. It was a miserable failure, but he did manage to sell it… after a year without any income. Seven years later the two of us founded Ascend Communications. That was a grand slam homerun.

Kliener Perkins Venture Capital funded us in 1990. In 1994 we took the company public with a 64% profit margin. In 1995 Business Week named us the most profitable stock of the year. We had a 921% gain. In 1996 we were added to the Standard and Poor’s 500 index. We had over 5,000 employees in 1999 when Lucent acquired Ascend for a record breaking amount.

You see, we had invented and manufactured nearly 90% of the hardware used for an infant industry called: The Internet. YES WE BUILT IT!

But times are different now. Americans are worried. Mitt Romney has talked to thousands of Americans all over the country – in company cafeterias, school gymnasiums, and factory floors. They are worried about their children, their jobs, their mortgages and their future. They are right to be worried.

All across our great land people are hurting. Some have lost jobs. Others are working two jobs to get by. Many have fallen out of the middle class and are struggling to get back. While the cost of living goes up and up, they are living paycheck to paycheck.

They are tired of being scared. While our government tells us unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months it’s actually worse than that! A full 16% of our workforce does not have work. If you were self employed like realtors and independent contractors, and you don’t have work, you are not counted. If your unemployment ran out or you just gave up looking, you are no longer counted. If you are young and looking for your first job, you don’t count. Half of our new college graduates cannot find decent jobs.

One in six Americans are below the poverty line today. More than when President Johnson declared the War on Poverty. We need to reconstruct our safety nets so they bounce people out of poverty, rather than trap them inside it.

In the past three and half years America has amassed an additional FIVE trillion dollars of debt, more than all other presidential administrations combined. After four years it’s clear President Obama’s policies are making things worse.

The current President is driving Americans apart, creating class warfare, demonizing success. It does not need to be this way! As Condoleezza Rice says: “America has never been a narrative of agrievement against others. It has always been one of empowerment and opportunity. Never have we said… I’m doing poorly because you are doing well.” If the Presidency can be won that way, we all lose.

This election is about restoring the promise of America. It is a stark choice between two visions for our country’s future. We don’t need more excuses. We don’t need more blame. What we need is a new President.

Romney and Ryan have a positive agenda that will lead to economic growth. It will bring widespread and shared prosperity. Their plan for a stronger middle class will get America back to work, balance the budget and put America’s finances on a sustainable path. They are offering solutions that are bold, yet specific. They are committed to helping create the 12 million new jobs America needs.

The Romney/Ryan plan to get America working again focuses on these five things:

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Aug. 21, 2012 (Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images )

First: Energy independence. We can achieve North American Energy Independence by 2020 if we take advantage of our domestic oil, our natural gas, our coal, our renewables and our nuclear power. Abundant, inexpensive domestic energy will not only create energy jobs, it will bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

Second: We must give our workers and our kids the skills they need to succeed. Our nation is failing in public education. For too long we have let the agenda of union bosses steer the agenda of our schools. It is time to put the students’ needs first. . . . Sandy Welch, who is running for Montana Superintendent of Schools told me about a conversation she had with a group of school administrators. She was advocating putting the students’ needs in the center of all other considerations. They looked at her dumbfounded! Finally one of them stammered, “we have never heard such a thing from any elected officials. It has always been all about Union’s rights! . . . It ‘s time for that to end!
(more…)

The Genius of Milton Friedman — Capitalism Preserved

Milton & Rose Friedman / Photo: Corbis

Four days ago, The Wall Street Journal published an outstanding article by Stephen Moore titled, The Man Who Saved Capitalism. One of the reasons President Reagan’s economic policies were so successful was because he relied upon the advice and wisdom of Milton Friedman. The entire article is worth reading. I am convinced liberals will never understand the genius of Friedman. If you ever want to have some fun, look up the numerous YouTubes of Friedman eviscerating the brightest of liberals. Here are some excerpts of Moore’s excellent article (also, see a great video at the WSJ URL):

It’s a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It’s perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world’s greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country.

Friedman was a constant presence on these pages until his death in 2006 at age 94. If he could, he would surely be skewering today’s $5 trillion expansion of spending and debt to create growth—and exposing the confederacy of economic dunces urging more of it.

In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from (more…)

Private Equity Deceptions?

Bewildered or Deceptive?

The failure of President Obama and his advocates, including the mainstream media, to understand economics 101 is distressing to say the least. Whether it is intentional duplicity, guile, or dishonesty on his part, or just plain ignorance because he doesn’t understand – it is disconcerting and frightening that our President would be so irresponsible as to lead American’s astray from truth!

Recent attacks against free enterprise and private equity by Barack Obama and his apologists are the tip of the iceberg and reflect an underlying agenda that is alarming. Even so, let’s address the attacks with substance and truth. The attacks are seeking to vilify the free enterprise system, private equity investors, and specifically Mitt Romney because of his business success. Barack Obama wants to disparage those who have been successful in business and fails to realize that rising tides float all boats. It is the foundation for his class warfare argument! Truth is, if we do not have a successful free enterprise system, no one, and I mean no one benefits. If we disrupt the balance and supplant the free enterprise system with government, we all lose and the middle class will disappear – in fact, we will elevate the impoverished. It is in our free enterprise system, and it’s success, that we overcome poverty. Why else have we seen nations around the world, even socialistic and communistic nations, adopt free enterprise? Within this context, free enterprise and private equity are synonymous.

Private equity in its simplest form is the foundation of free enterprise and economic markets. Anyone who invests capital directly into a business with a hoped for economic return is engaged in some form or degree of private equity. Whether you are Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, the owner of a small business selling jewelry out of your home, or a large private equity fund, you invest time and capital into building a business and making it successful – this is basis for the private equity markets. Interestingly, you may not even be aware that you are a private equity investor. If you have pension or retirement funds (IRA or 401k) and are invested in the debt or equity markets, you are participating in private equity investments in one form or another; if you have donated to a charity or not-for-profit you may be, tangentially, a private equity investor; it is only a matter of degree. Private equity investors are individuals, pension funds, charitable funds, educational foundations, governments, corporations, etc., each of whom provide capital to build and sustain free enterprise markets and businesses. That said, no one invests their money with an expectation to fail, only to succeed; and success comes with sustainability and a return of capital and then some. The role of government is not to constrain these markets, but to encourage and expand them. For in such we see the ‘private equity multiplier effect.’ The ‘private equity multiplier effect’ is most easily seen in job creation, wealth creation and innovation.

Mitt Romney creates billions of dollars for others

Mitt Romney’s self-made business successes have come under attack from President Obama. We read that his success has created personal wealth estimated at $350+ million. What isn’t discussed are the billions of dollars of wealth created for so many others. What Mitt Romney garnered in wealth from his business success is nominal compared to what he has created for so many others, including pension fund and retirement accounts for many Americans, charities, employers, employees, individual investors and shareholders, and businesses. If one understands the multiplier effect of wealth creation, this means that in his career, Mitt Romney has had a profound and extended impact in the lives of innumerable Americans – far beyond the 100,000 jobs created in and as a result of his work.

The President of the United States has available to him the full resource of the United States. He has access to the brightest and most capable economic minds on the planet, and yet he doesn’t understand basic economics? He doesn’t understand the private equity multiplier effect? Or, he does and deliberately seeks to misinform the public? Either way, it is irresponsible and/or dishonest! The President of the United States is held to a higher standard. As a people we entrust him with the burden of care and stewardship to lead with integrity. We trust him to put country above self, and not subordinate American’s to ignorance, deception and deceit for personal power or position. He has a sacred trust and stewardship to lead with integrity and truth. This is a standard that all who have been elected to public office must abide. Even so, many don’t, and neither is this President.

It has been said that the fear of losing the office of POTUS is greater than the want to secure it; and it is becoming more and more apparent that Barack Obama, and those who advocate for him, are willing to abandon truth and integrity in an effort to preserve power and position. Their want for power and position, and willingness to do whatever it takes to preserve it, is frightening given the agenda they hold to neuter and undermine America’s divine exceptionalism and freedoms.

Fundamental to America’s economic strength, and consequentially our freedom, is our adoption of free enterprise and “free markets”. Free enterprise embodies the principles espoused in our Nation’s founding documents, wherein we are empowered with the agency to choose and act, within the bounds of nature’s law. In free enterprise, we act on principles embodied in such and granted by “nature’s God”, the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Barack Obama should be ashamed!


A new book by David Parker

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“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.