Sharing Prosperity: Obama’s Economic Plan for Small Business

Obama does have quite the plan. It is a mixed bag to be sure, as anything political would be, but it is both a sound and refreshingly moral plan to help this economy work for all Americans.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama once spoke to CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo about the economy. Bartiromo made the usual comments an ideologically minded supply-sider might make, and Obama true to form, struck his usual centrist tone:

The one thing you can be assured of is I’m not going to be making these [economic] decisions based on ideology. I’m not a dogmatist…I believe in the market. I believe in entrepreneurship. I believe in opportunity. I believe in capitalism. And I want to do what works, but what I want to make sure of is it works for all America and not just a small sliver of America.

Obama does have quite the plan. It is a mixed bag to be sure, as anything political would be, but it is both a sound and refreshingly moral plan to help this economy work for all Americans. Instead of government spending per se, it consists of government investment, a key distinction from leftist ideological choices. It provides for targeted tax relief to the engines of our economy: the consumer and the more importantly small business. As a progressive he includes union protection, but departs from political pandering and opts for sensible regulation. See a pattern? I’ve said to my progressive/liberal friends that if they don’t get a pro-business, pro-growth policy that expresses their ideals and values, they might was well pack it in to conservatives whose policies smack of trickle down, faith based “economics.” No government in a free economy creates jobs. Businesses do and they don’t do so out of charity or good will. They do so out of necessity or incentive. So there has to be a system of carrots and sticks, that forces them to, as Taylor put it, “share in the surplus.” So to create jobs, you have to be pro-business in some way, and refreshingly Obama does not disappoint. More on this later.

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That Old Time Capitalism

I began reading John C. Bogle‘s The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism tonight. So far, it’s an interesting read.

I began reading John C. Bogle‘s The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism tonight. So far, it’s an interesting read. Here is a memorable quote (so far) rich with irony in today’s world:

My vantage point is that of an American businessman (and a lifelong Republican) who has spent his entire half-century-plus career in the financial field…For better or worse, my youthful idealism–the belief that any truly sound business endeavor must be built on a strong moral foundation–still remains today, at least as strong as it was all those years ago.

By the latter years of the twentieth century, our business values had eroded to a remarkable extent. Yes, we are a nation of prodigious energy, marvelous entrepreneurship, brilliant technology, creativity beyond imagination, and, at least in some corners of the business world, the idealism to make our nation and our world a better place. But I also see far too much greed, egoism, materialism, and waste to please my critical eye. I see an economy overly focused on the “haves” and not focused enough on the “have-nots,” failing to allocate our nation’s resources where they are most needed–to solve the problems of poverty and to provide quality education for all. I see a shocking misuse of the world’s natural resources, as if they were ours to waste rather than ours to preserve as a sacred trust for future generations, and I see a political system corrupted by the staggering infusion of money that is, to be blunt about it, rarely given by disinterested citizens who expect no return on their investment.

Wow. Small wonder why he isn’t all that popular with today’s so-called conservatives.

Michelle Singletary – Debt Addicts Get A Dose of Reality

Michelle Singletary – Debt Addicts Get A Dose of Reality – washingtonpost.com:

“But many of the individuals who are overloaded with debt need to take responsibility for their bad choices, too. Take credit card debt, for example. Certainly there has been a tremendous push — for decades — by financial institutions to get people to view credit cards as indispensable.
And consumers gladly went along, with no complaint, using other people’s money until life’s hardships — a job loss, illness or divorce — got in the way and they could no longer pay today for what they long since had purchased.”

(Via The Washington Post.)

A quick, but fair, look at why debtors clearly have to share responsibility in the current economic crisis.

msnbc.com video: Obama on the economy

msnbc.com video: Obama on the economy:

(Via MSNBC.com.)

Wages and incomes for middle class America have been flat for far longer than Obama intimated. In real dollar terms, they’ve been stagnant for decades where the top earners’ incomes shares of national income have quintupled. So in terms of basic fairness and even sound long term economics, you’ve got to pay the piper. Rich folk: do you want to be pigs who get fat or hogs who get slaughtered?

Obama Casts Wide Blame for Financial Crisis and Proposes Homeowner Aid – New York Times

Obama Casts Wide Blame for Financial Crisis and Proposes Homeowner Aid – New York Times:

“‘Instead of establishing a 21st-century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one,’ he said, ‘aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight.’”

(Via The NY Times.)

I’m always for keeping things balanced. One thing he can’t say without losing his bid is that a 21 century framework has to be structured so that debtors shoulder some responsibility. While I’m sure many were hoodwinked and bamboozled, many others simply got greedy and gorged on cheap debt. They have to be taken to the shed as well. Let’s hope Barack leads in an effort to setup such a system.

B.E.T. Honors

For much of the network’s life, I have not been a big fan of it’s social impact. Far too many booties shakin’, gangstas, and not enough positive images or ideas. But as of late, I’ve seen some pretty good programming. The kind of stuff the community has been clamoring for years despite Bob Johnson. This program is a great example of what I hope to be a mainstay of the network. If it doesn’t, we can always watch more of the Boondocks!

Mutual Funds Get Greedy

Mutual Funds Get Greedy:

“That’s what prompted me to tell the radio interviewer, ‘That’s why mutual funds suck. Not only do they suck 80 percent of the dividends, in come[sic] cases they suck another 73 percent of other gains from investors.'”

(Via Yahoo! Finance.)

Robert Kiyosaki
Mr. Kiyosaki is so right that the mutual fund industry is taking the average investor for a ride. The fees are far higher than justified because the average investor doesn’t get what she pays for: superior returns. If memory serves, fully 80% of active fund managers, i.e. stock pickers, can’t beat the market. Monkey’s throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal do better! Of course, there will be managers who beat the market for short periods of time and an elite few do so over the long haul. But who knows who they will be apriori? If you have that kind of crystal ball, skip the manager and get right to picking the right stocks!

Fuzzy Math

I’ve long been a fan of Robert Kiyosaki and the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books and was surprised to come across this gem of an article. Not for the writing, but for the statement on our leaders inability to even adequately manage this country’s vast wealth. This applies esp. to Bush who has borrowed into the stratosphere. And let’s not forget that in the midst of repealing the so-called “death tax” that only 1 in 37,000 of us will actually pay. More of the burden for repaying this debt will fall to our children long after those who are responsible for it have left the scene.

What Ails GM and America?: Why the Rich Get Richer – Yahoo! Finance:

“I would say that what’s good for GM and for America is to treat workers and investors fairly. Tell us the truth. Admit incompetence. Stop pretending. Stop the fuzzy math. Of course, telling the truth will mean being thrown out of office, but that might be a good start for an economic recovery.”

I’ve long been a fan of Robert Kiyosaki and the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books and was surprised to come across this gem of an article. Not for the writing, but for the statement on our leaders inability to even adequately manage this country’s vast wealth. This applies esp. to Bush who has borrowed into the stratosphere. And let’s not forget that in the midst of repealing the so-called “death tax” that only 1 in 37,000 of us will actually pay. More of the burden for repaying this debt will fall to our children long after those who are responsible for it have left the scene.