So the day after Obama gets re-elected, the Dow Jones dropped 200 points. The CEO of the largest coal mining company in America, Robert Murray, laid-off 156 employees citing Obama’s re-election as the solitary reason. Here is the Washington Post article about it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/after-obama-re-election-ceo-reads-prayer-to-staff-announces-layoffs/2012/11/09/e9bca204-2a63-11e2-bab2-eda299503684_story.html
He assembled the workers he planned to lay off; then read them this outrageous prayer combining a perverse reading of the Bible and a perfectly normal reading of Atlas Shrugged. The real reason he laid them off is that recent advances in fracking technology has led to a great increase in natural gas production. Natural gas production and consumption is slightly less harmful to the environment than coal as well as less dangerous and cheaper. So the influx of natural gas has resulted in a decrease in demand for coal. At the same time, some recent legislation passed by the Obama administration requires more strenuous environmental oversight for new coal mining projects. This won’t fully take effect until 2014, though. But this right-winger, whose employees are likely Democrats being working-class coal-miners, laid them off after first threatening to fire them for not voting for Romney in the first place. This is obviously illegal. And, this is only one example of many businesses threatening to close their doors if Obama is re-elected, as well as threatening to fire their employees if they voted for Obama: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/virginia-jewelry-store-owner-protests-obamas-reelection-closing-in-act-of-mourning_n_2095174.html#slide=1686462 Apparently, this is happening all over the nation. Some more examples: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/papa-johns-obamacare-john-schnatter_n_2104202.html
Do these business owners not realize they are becoming self-parodies? These types of actions make business owners seem like those greedy rich muppets: Statler and Wadorf. How can people believe everything is Obama’s fault when he doesn’t even control half of congress? The president’s worst economic sin is his desire to provide the option of access to public healthcare for the entire nation. The United States of America is the last Western democracy to offer universal healthcare. With his re-election, he threatens to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire unless Congressional Republicans agree to a compromise and a smaller tax hike. So basically, Obama wants to instate (less than) the socialist taxation levels that Clinton and Reagan and every other president since FDR presided over. But he bailed out the banks, the auto industry, and even conservative economists admitted the necessity of a stimulus package. A stimulus package that was necessary after Republican legislated de-regulation caused the Great Recession in the first place. So he seems relatively pro-business to me
Why should business owners (the job-creators, as they call themselves), who might personally disagree with Obama’s economic policies, intentionally damage the economy to make the president look bad? Pure selfishness is the answer. And in this case, their greed is not good. They make money off selling stocks and laying-off workers, while the economy as a whole suffers. The individuals they fire suffer, and they blame it on Obamacare. Instead of firing workers/cutting their pay, why not take an executive pay cut? No, the so called “makers,” deserve that money more than the worthless “takers” who deliver pizza or work the line at their restaurant or mine the coal.
Now, when the wealthy hoard their money in off-shore bank accounts and employ talented accountants to avoid taxes, they are the ones hurting the economy. Defenders of the free-market argue that these “job-creators” invest in the economy more effectively than government and thus better stimulate it. But I argue that the working and middle classes spend that money more effectively. The wealthy are more likely to spend their money on luxury items, and the profits from these items generally go to other wealthy business/stock holders and not to the middle class. They continue to pay relatively less in taxes. Thus a cycle of money remains in the hands of the wealthy while everyone else is stuck in the class they were born to. A country will advance better economically if it invests in education, infrastructure and improving the situation of the poor. Why are the working-poor and middle-class considered of less value than the wealthy? The government spends a vastly larger sum of money on corporate subsidies and tax-breaks than on welfare, food stamps and PBS. I think this question is especially relevant considering that money spent by the poor and middle class often supports local and small business rather than gigantic corporations. A democratically-elected government presumably has the interests of its people at heart rather than itself. Therefore I believe that government spending is more beneficial for America as a whole than whatever the “job-creators” happen to decide to invest their extra cash in. When the wealthy use their financial advantages to repress class mobility, only government can fight back against them. The middle-class and the poor lack the institutional and monetary advantages to compete fairly in the free-market. If it becomes clear government members are pursuing their own interests, then they are voted out of office. Obama was re-elected. I think that gives him a mandate to pursue liberal economic policies designed to help those in need, but not those wanting a second beach house.
Part of my problem with the Conservative claim that liberal economic policies are always bad for business is the personal example of my own father. He is the quintessential, self-made, small business owner. In fact, he could be a poster-child for the Republican “pull yourself up by your own boot-straps” fantasy that they constantly repeat via conservative media. He worked 60-80 hour weeks his whole life to eventually become the president of an architecture firm that grosses tens of millions in profits a year. His profession has the highest unemployment rate (around 37%) of anyone with an undergrad degree. Yet, he still manages to be successful despite a limping recovery and a supposedly “hostile” moderate liberal government. In fact, he would sooner roll-over and die than vote Republican. Coming from a working-class background, he truly believes that more successful individuals have a social duty to help the less fortunate. He believes in wealth re-distribution because he knows he can eat a filet mignon whenever he damn well pleases regardless if the top 10% are getting taxed 25% or 35% of their income. He thinks America can be improved by taking the wealth of society’s upper strata, and investing it in education, infrastructure, and programs designed to help lift the poor out of poverty. He recognizes the fact that as a white male, he was born with institutional advantages that absolutely do not exist for minorities. In conclusion, I believe it is morally wrong to selfishly damage the economy for political reasons. There are certainly intellectual merits to conservative economic policies. But the whole idea that slightly increasing taxes or regulating businesses will send to the economy into an irreversible tail-spin is a malicious fallacy. That is unless business owners intentionally throw the economy into a tail-spin themselves, out of spite because their presidential candidate lost.