Four or five sentences spoken by President Obama during a speech last month generated major controversy. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney used one of them to paint Obama as anti-business. Romney specifically called Obama’s remarks “insulting” to business owners. And just what is insulting to business owners about the remarks? The remark was: “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.” Taken out of context, it does sound somewhat patronizing. But put the remark in its full context (see below) and it is clear that Obama was referring to public roads and highways and the many other things that government provides to make business possible.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Romney told corporate leaders in June that Obama has the “the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history.” A few months later, on August 11, the S&P closed on a four-year high, up 74 percent since the day Obama took office on January 20, 2009. As a Reuters’ article stated, “Not since Dwight Eisenhower’s first term has a president had such a strong run for their first term.”
“Even though business and corporate sentiment is not good for Obama because they don’t think he’s been good for the economy, the fact that the market has done very well under him is a positive,” said Ethan Siegal, head of The Washington Exchange, which analyzes politics for institutional investors.
“The stock market is a barometer not of the absolute level of the economy but of improvement in the economy,” said former Merrill Lynch strategist Richard Bernstein, who now runs his own investment management firm. “There is no doubt the economy has improved in the last four years.”
Romney would be bad for the green economy
The wind energy tax credit expires at the end of this year. The Des Moines Register points out that when Congress delayed extending the tax credit twice during Obama’s tenure, “wind projects faltered and workers were laid off.” Romney is against the tax credit and supports letting it expire, as the comments from his spokesperson make clear:
“He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits…Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results.”
Looking at Romney’s Believe In America economic plan it is very clear that he is opposed to the green economy. The plan maligns Obama’s focus on creating green jobs. In the plan Romney claims that green jobs “might actually hurt employment more than they help it.” A report released last month by the Brookings Institute shows otherwise. According to the report, the green economy employs about 2.7 million workers. Green economy jobs pay more for low and middle skilled workers. Median wages in the green economy are 13 percent higher than median U.S. wages.