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Does Obama understand economics?

Back in February, President Obama met with a group of CEOs in the White House, seeking their support for his economic stimulus package. One of his chief targets was Jim Owens, the head of Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois. The day after the session in Washington, the president flew to Peoria to speak at the Caterpillar factory and took Owens and newly elected Republican representative Aaron Schock, the youngest member of Congress at 28, with him.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 8:07 AM on Nov. 25, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Answers (20)
  • Aboard Air Force One, Obama chatted amiably with Owens and Schock. Owens showed Obama two pages of a PowerPoint presentation. The first gave the details of China's stimulus, devoted mostly to infrastructure. The second was Obama's stimulus (drafted by congressional Democrats), with far less money going to building and repairing roads, bridges, and other projects. That was the problem, Owens told Obama: too little for infrastructure and thus too little to engage companies like Caterpillar, which had just furloughed 20,000 workers.
    When Obama delivered his speech in Peoria, he either hadn't understood what Owens told him or simply refused to accept it. The stimulus package, he said, would be "a major step forward on our path to economic recovery. And I'm not the only one who thinks so." Owens, the president said, had told him that "if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire"
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:08 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • This was not only untrue, but proved to be embarrassing for Obama. After the speech, Owens talked to reporters at the foot
    of the podium. No, he wouldn't be bringing back any workers. (Later, Caterpillar announced that 2,500 of the layoffs would be permanent.) Owens and Schock flew back to Washington on Air Force One.

    This time, Obama ignored them. There was a chill. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and adviser David Axelrod walked past Owens and Schock repeatedly to speak to the press pool in the rear of the plane. They didn't stop to chat either.

    Obama has his own theory of our current economic situation. His "first job," he told Chuck Todd of NBC News, was to stave off another "Great Depression," save government jobs (police, firefighters, teachers), and "make sure certain sectors of the economy were supported," such as "construction and infrastructure." "We've gotten that job done," he said.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:10 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Our next job is to make sure we can accelerate the job growth," he said. "   So what we're seeing now is businesses are starting to invest again, they are starting to be profitable again, but they haven't started hiring again."

    What's the matter with these business guys? The suggestion here is they ought to be hiring. But they're "sitting on the sidelines," the president told Major Garrett of Fox News. He regards them as not-very-conscientious objectors, avoiding the struggle to revive the economy and put people back to work. They're not doing their part, their duty.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:10 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Do you? Are you an economist?
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:11 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Obama has made clear in his 10-month presidency that he has minimal respect for business or the profit motive. Ambitious, talented young people should work for nonprofits. Last summer, he criticized doctors who gouged by insisting on expensive tonsillectomies to cure simple sore throats. They reflected a "business mentality," he said.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:11 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • And what the president doesn't understand--or, to be more charitable, refuses to acknowledge--about free markets, the economy, and competition could fill a book, or at least an Obama speech. The economic growth he sees was produced, in part, by cash-for-clunkers and the first-time homebuyers tax credit. It foreshadowed an unusually weak recovery. And the profits came largely from cost-cutting, not a flood of new revenue.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:12 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Presidents from Calvin Coolidge to John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to George Bush understood that strong incentives are necessary to trigger rapid growth and hiring. Strong incentives, plus more investment in infrastructure, would no doubt have won the endorsement of Jim Owens of Caterpillar. He didn't get them from Obama, and my guess is he never will.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/248oumdt.asp?pg=2
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:13 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Do you? Are you an economist? @8:11, I wasn't voted by the people to serve the people. I didn't make a promise to keep unemployment below 9% when I forced a recovery package. That would have been Obama. But for the record I do have my MBA in Human Resources and do understand why businesses aren't hiring. It's pretty simple. Well except for Obama who wants to criticize companies for not hiring.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:18 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Nice cut and paste
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:30 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

  • Nice cut and paste @8:30, I'll take that as you don't understand economics either. I bet you voted for Obama.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:38 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

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