Many commentators blame our continuing economic woes on “uncertainty.” They allege that recent and anticipated dramatic policy changes make business planning difficult, and that this is retarding growth and employment. This view is not wrong—but our main problem is not the uncertainty surrounding new policies. It is the policies.
The Obama administration’s economic policies have defenders. For instance, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman will tell you the stimulus helped, and we didn’t have enough. What we have seen, rather, is that the stimulus was wasteful and politicized, and the American people, not being idiots, know they will have to pay for it eventually. People adjust their plans to account for the additional debt heaped on them, meaning lower investment and consumption.
We have also seen that Dodd-Frank, with its enshrining of too big to fail and its large regulatory costs, is an albatross. Add to this that ObamaCare’s gigantic new entitlement has hurt. And throw in that massive additional regulatory costs being foisted upon business is an extra drain on the economy. Clearly, the disregard for law during the auto-company “bankruptcies” has long-lasting negative effects. You could even throw in that the president’s demonization of business has been harmful. Finally, the expected tax increases, even if only on the “super rich”—defined as anyone still gainfully employed—weigh upon us.
Focusing on “uncertainty” takes our eyes off the ball. We should not seek clarity about the many new drags on our economy. We should seek to have the administration cease and desist, then reverse them.