In his latest book, Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching his Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses, journalist Tim Carney analyzes the influence that large business corporations have on the current presidential administration. Like his previous book, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, Carney once again writes about the machinations of big business and how they have subverted the loyalties of key government officials to suppress their competition and promote their own specialized interests.
Carney admits that the story of his book could be that President Obama was bought out by the drug lobbyists who continue to support other Democratic candidates in the hopes of getting nationalized healthcare passed to ensure a permanent market for their product, but he chose to take a different angle. “I believe what’s going on here, what’s the theme of my book is that whenever government gets involved that opens the doors for the special interests.” He makes it clear that although the title of the book is Obamanomics it’s reference to the sitting President is merely because he is currently in power. “My point is not that Obama is some evil shill for big business, my point is that when government gets bigger, big business ends up profiting.”
Carney gives three Laws of Obamanomics with the codicil that “These are nothing new. They were true under George Bush; they were true under Alexander Hamilton.”
1) The Inside Game: Whoever has the best lobbyist, wins
2) The Overhead Smash: The big guys can always bear the burden better.
3) The Confidence Game: Government lends an air of legitimacy to industries and businesses.
The bottom line is “Every time government gets bigger somebody’s getting rich.” The primary point that Carney makes is that although the Republican Party has generally been considered the party of “big business,” big business follows power and the Democratic Party is just as guilty as the Republican Party.
Professor Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton University concurred with Carney’s findings, commenting that big business’s involvement in the government is mostly due to the “tactical necessity” of staying in business and continues because lobbying is considered an expression of free speech and protected in the American Constitution. If the trend continues, the problems will only get worse as more and more politicians are bought by the special interests.
Ross Douthat concluded the discussion of Obamanomics with general thoughts about the book and what must be done to rectify the situation. He stated that “a lot of what they [liberals] hated during the Bush years is a direct result of big government. Consequently, they are surprised to find that although parties have changed in Washington, everything else is pretty much business as usual. The conclusion that more and more people are coming to is “our government is broken.” But, while the problem seems easy to point out, the solution is more elusive. Douthat suggests a return to the appealing rhetoric of limited government. However, while the appeal of limited government is strong, “no one is doing the specifics.” And, until they do, nothing will happen.