FUD 101

It is now official. The semester is over, and the grades have been posted. Not only has the Obama Administration flunked ECON 101; they have now also summarily flunked FUD 101.

The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial entitled ‘Bumps in the Road,” quoted the chief White House economist Austin Goolsbee as saying “there are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the last two years.” The WSJ goes on to conclude that “The real ‘bumps on the road’ to recovery are these policies and the larger climate of hostility towards job creators that still prevails in Washington.” They compare the massively positive trajectory of the post-recession Reagan administration recovery with the current economic situation. The differences could not be more starkly contradictory.

To listen to the liberal pundits is to conclude that the Obama administration is the victim of past failures and that it is now doing everything it can to save the sinking ship. No one argues that the economy he inherited was other than a mess. The issue is rather that he has done everything in his power to take a very bad situation…and make it infinitely worse. Much of life is “infinitely projectable but for time.” It was infinitely projectable that we would be headed into a downward economic trajectory, contrary to Mr. Goolsbee’s disputations. The only question was how long it would take for the system to crumble under the stress. President Reagan did everything he could to sponsor job creation. President Obama has been absolutely masterful in destroying any hope of a reinvigorated jobs machine.

After the mid-term elections, it was generally thought that a collective sanity was about to return to our political and economic lives. The thinking was that the Democrats had done all the damage they could possibly do, and that they would turn their forward focus towards getting re-elected. The survival instinct would seemingly have indicated that they needed to take their foot off the throat of the economy. But, lo, many of us underestimated their focus on their ideology. Apparently, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

The reckless pursuit of egalitarian ends represents not only a violation of economic growth principles; it also represents a violation of basic human principles. What is now being experienced in the economy, and the pathetic (or completely non-existent) recovery, does not require any understanding of global macro economics. But it does require a base level understanding of the curriculum of FUD 101. Business people understand FUD. The Obama administration, it has now been made clear, simply do not.

FUD (the acronym used to describe any environment of FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT), is the mortal enemy of all progress. When these characteristics exist in any human system, people do “what people do” when confronted with FUD…they do absolutely nothing. They keep their heads down. They keep their powder dry. They hold their cards close. They do not “invest in their futures.” The clichés go on indefinitely. The bane of any human existence, personal or institutionally collective, is the presence of unpredictable outcomes. And the Obama administration has created an environment where no one can predict anything with any level of certainty. The capitalist system in this country is under attack, and no one can predict where the next bombing raid might take place. FUD reigns supreme.

Had anyone in the Obama administration ever managed anything outside of the political arena, they would better see the magnitude of the damage they are creating. They would also not be surprised by what is now happening in the private sector. The President himself would not be attempting to use the bully pulpit to “shame” business leaders into hiring additional staff…as their patriotic duty. They would also not be continuing to blame the “situation they inherited” for the current situation. The path to economic recovery was well-documented thirty years ago by the Reagan/Laffer economic team. This same path has been thoroughly documented around the globe in the last several hundred years.  It is really too bad President Obama decided instead to make up his own “experimentally progressive” economic agenda.

All he really needed to do was take just one semester of FUD 101.

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