Herman Cain's Commentary Archive 2009-2012

June 18, 2012

Memo to Obama Supporters: Here’s How Jobs are Created

By Herman Cain
June 18, 2011

Writer Ari Berman of the left-wing magazine The Nation wrote last week that if jobs are the issue that decides the election, Barack Obama should be the winner.


OK, it’s The Nation. You weren’t expecting rational analysis, were you? But the piece is worth reading for what it reveals about left-wing thought on how you create jobs. Berman actually tries to make the argument that Obama has a plan to create jobs and Mitt Romney doesn’t.

Here’s where you can read it:'t.

So how does Berman come to this conclusion? Essentially, he views job-creation through a narrow left-wing lens that recognizes only one method of creating jobs, which is for the government to bankroll new hires. If the federal government is going to lay out hundreds of billions that can be used to hire teachers, cops, firefighters, construction workers and so forth, that counts as a plan to create jobs.

If, on the other hand, your plan is to boost economic growth so the private-sector employment picture will improve – as is the case with Mitt Romney – that is not a job-creation plan. What is it? Berman quotes David Madland of the liberal Center for American Progress: “It is a plan from the Republican candidate for president designed to maximize corporate profits. What it doesn’t do is help the middle class or create jobs.”

Got that? Maximizing corporate profits is inconsistent with job-creation in the bizarro economic world of The Nation and the Center for American Progress. Vote for Barack Obama! He’ll make corporations less profitable (mission accomplished) and create lots of jobs as a result (any day now).

But wait, you say, Berman tells us that “even the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal” criticized Romney’s plan. It’s very popular these days for Obama’s apologists to claim WSJ editors have defended him. They made the claim with respect to Obama’s spending, only to be debunked by just about every media outlet in the nation, including the WSJ itself. But what did the Journal really say about
Romney’s job-creation plan in the editorial, published way back in September, and cited by Berman? It said the following:

“The rollout is billed as Mr. Romney's ‘plan for jobs and economic growth,’ and it rightly points out that to create more jobs requires above all faster growth. This may seem like common sense, but it's a notable break from the Obama Administration's penchant for policies that ‘target’ jobs rather than improving overall incentives for job creation. So we have had policies for ‘green jobs,’ or construction jobs, or teaching jobs, or automobile jobs, or temporary, targeted tax cuts for jobs—even as the economy struggles.

“Mr. Romney seems to understand that the private economy will inevitably produce millions of new jobs—in industries and companies we can't predict—when it resumes growing at 3% or more. This is an important philosophical distinction that drives most of the Romney agenda.”

Where the editorial criticized Romney’s plan, it was because they wanted it to be more aggressive and specific about tax cuts – not exactly what Mr. Berman is getting at, is it?

The reason Ari Berman, readers of The Nation and other Obama supporters fail to see a job-creation plan is that they don’t understand how jobs are created. To them, jobs are created when a politician sends a certain amount of money to favored constituencies with the expectation that it will be used to hire people to do work the politician wants done. Another way they think jobs are created is for the federal government to run 47 “job training” programs – as if companies can’t train their own workers, and as if jobs are plentiful if only people go through a government program first.

If Obama’s job-creation strategy worked, then it would already be working. Instead, unemployment has soared during his presidency, and job-creation has now slowed to a near-standstill. Obama complains that this is because the Republican Congress won’t let him spend even more stimulus money. But the real reason is that economic growth remains at or below a paltry 2 percent, which is bad under any circumstance, but is horrible as part of a so-called “recovery” from a recession.

Mitt Romney understands that a robust private sector is the best job creator, which is why he proposes cutting the corporate tax rate, slashing regulations, repealing ObamaCare and ending the explosion of federal debt. If that doesn’t look like a job-creation plan to Ari Berman and other Obama supporters, it’s because they – unlike Mitt Romney – have never been involved in the creation of jobs and don’t know how it works.
Much like their leader.

June 11, 2012

Mr. President, Your Facts are Incorrect

By Herman Cain
June 10, 2012

If President Obama believed he had a good economic record, he would be presenting that record to the American people as it really is. It tells you a lot that the president is so willing to distort the facts – especially on the matter of his spending.

A few weeks ago, a writer named Rex Nutting wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch section that made the claim that there really has been no Obama spending spree. According to Nutting, the whole thing is a myth.

This was greeted as exciting news by the Obama White House, which immediately began making the claim that the “conservative Wall Street Journal” had declared he was not a big spender.

How could Nutting make such a claim? Using phony numbers, that’s how. Nutting ignored the fact that much of the spending that occurred in 2009 was requested and approved by Obama after he took office. This allowed Nutting to pretend that all 2009 spending – save for the oddly chosen figure of $140 billion – was the responsibility of George W. Bush.

Because spending increases since 2009 have been relatively small, Nutting’s logic is that Obama has given us tiny increases over a baseline that was Bush’s fault.

It didn’t take long for conservative media to tear Nutting’s deceptive piece to shreds. The piece was so sloppy, it was easy to do. But surprisingly, even mainstream media outlets like the Associated Press and the Washington Post roasted Nutting for his claims, and took Obama to task for citing the discredited column.

And as for Obama’s claim that he was getting support from the “conservative Wall Street Journal,” that was simply not the truth. MarketWatch is an entirely separate section from the WSJ’s conservative editorial page, which weighed in on the controversy after it had festered for several days, ripping Nutting's piece to shreds and castigating the Obama Administration for citing it.

You would think, after all this, that Obama would stop making the claim and stop citing the piece. But he hasn’t. At a fundraiser just the other night, he cited it once again to the roaring approval of a partisan Democratic crowd.

Of course, his claim is ridiculous on its face. The national debt has already risen by $5 trillion in the three years since Obama took office, which is more than it rose the entire eight years of the Bush Administration. To say there has been no Obama spending spree is so absurd, you’d be laughed out of any room full of serious people (apparently Democratic fundraising events don’t apply) if you said it.

I would respect President Obama more if he would stand up and make an honest case for his policies. I’m not saying I would agree with them, but if he thinks spending 25 percent of GDP – which we haven’t done at any other time outside of World War II – is good policy, he should boldly stand up and tell everyone, “Yes, I increased spending this much and this is why I did it.”

Instead, he runs from his spending record because it obviously hasn’t brought the economic benefits he claimed it would, and it’s running up the nation’s credit card at a frightening rate. He is so lost for a justification for all this, that when an obscure columnist writes a sloppy and easily debunked column that attempts to defend him, he references it for weeks on end.

He has nothing else.

That is pathetic. Would it be so hard to admit that your policies haven’t worked and that we need to try something else? Then again, he’s still pushing Congress to give him another $450 billion in stimulus spending, so maybe he really doesn’t understand that his policies don’t work. Maybe he just thinks we need that much more of them.

Congress won’t give him what he wants, of course, nor should they.

Mr. President, with all due respect, your facts are incorrect.

June 4, 2012

The Obama Likability Trap

By Herman Cain
June 4, 2012

If a pollster calls you at some point during this election season, one of the strangest questions they ask you could be:
“Who would you rather have a beer with?”

And you didn’t know the president would be inviting you to the White House for a beer, or picking you up after work to take you to Joe’s Bar. Because, of course, he won’t. But that doesn’t stop pollsters from exploring the question of “likability,” and it doesn’t stop the media from reporting on it as if it were a relevant factor in determining who should be the next president.

Politicians put a great deal of time and attention these days into trying to be likable, as they’re convinced this will influence a great many voters. This quest for likability can involve everything from looks ($400 haircuts and botox) to jokes on the stump to local sports references at every stop, some of which are guaranteed to backfire – like when John Kerry told a bunch of Wisconsin cheeseheads how much he liked going to football games at “Lambert Field.”

And almost all of this is completely irrelevant to the job of the presidency. In fact, I would argue that the need to be liked can make a leader much less effective – since true leadership is often the opposite of pleasing everyone.

I can’t think of a better example than Barack Obama.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama was regarded as the much more likable candidate than either primary rival Hillary Clinton (whom he infamously and condescendingly told, “You’re likable enough, Hillary”) or general election opponent John McCain. It’s hard to say what the basis was for this belief. I’m sure part of it was that he seemed very natural and comfortable when speaking in public. He seemed to have the ability to relate to ordinary people. And by all appearances he does seem to be genuinely devoted to his family, which is great.

But being president of the United States is arguably the most difficult job in the world. It’s certainly the job that presents the most problems for everyone else when someone does it incompetently. And however likable Obama may have been, there was no reason to think he was qualified for the job. Having served two-thirds of a single U.S. Senate term, with no executive experience of any kind prior to that, simply did not recommend him for the presidency of the United States. Any objective look at the facts should have caused voters to conclude, “This man is going to be in over his head.”

And he has been.

Facing one of the most difficult economic challenges of the last several generations, we elected a man who had never had responsibility for any economy – good or bad, of any size. He had one idea, which was to spend hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowed money. When that didn’t fix the problem, he was stumped. He knows nothing about economics and nothing about business or job creation. And without executive experience, he didn’t know how to surround himself with knowledgeable people who could guide him to better solutions. He had no idea what to do, and still doesn’t.

He’s been even worse on the foreign policy front. Iran and North Korea are playing him like a fiddle on matters of nuclear proliferation. Russia under Vladimir Putin simply disregards him. And for all his talk about how his predecessor supposedly alienated our allies, Obama has managed to upset the British on the question of the Falkland Islands, the Canadians on the question of oil purchases, the Poles on matters of missile defense and “Polish death camps,” and Israel on just about everything.

How much do you like him now?

But as badly as Obama has bungled the presidency – and that is very badly indeed – we have to recognize he is not the only one with culpability here. When the Democratic Party put him on stage at its 2004 national convention to give the keynote address, which he delivered very well, it was absurd that an obscure Illinois state legislator should have been instantly elevated to the level of “rising star” on the national political scene. Given his almost non-existent record of achievement during his tenure as a U.S. senator, it was ridiculous that he was treated as one of the top-tier candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination – while a candidate like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who had an incredibly impressive resume, was treated as a joke.

Being likable has nothing to do with whether you can lead a nation. It doesn’t mean you can’t, but voters and the media need to look at a person’s qualifications – in the areas of leadership, achievement and ideas – and stop worrying about who they would like to have a beer with. If you want to have a beer, go have one with your friends. Leave the presidency to someone who has actually led something. Likability is not leadership.