As I read this recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Sluggish Productivity Hampers Wage Gains” I mulled as to whether or not the Wall Street Journal had started a new satire section — but then it occurred to me that the author’s analysis of the current market was completely serious. Is he so clueless that he actually does not understand why there is “tepid productivity”?
The author, Greg Ip, cites 1) Faulty data may be partly to blame, 2) the severity of the financial crisis and recession and 3) weak business investment, but completely misses the elephant in the room: the meddling, anti-business policies of the current administration.
This administration has been exceedingly heavy-handed in its efforts to demonize businesses, while promising that businesses will be highly taxed and regulated. Whether it is labor regulation by the NRLB or environmental regulation by the EPA, government interference has been overreaching and restrictive.
Additionally, there have been huge increases in both criminal rules and regulations about what businesses are allowed and not allowed to do — from nitpicky labor rules, to dictating employee minutiae, to minimum wage requirements, all which restrict business hiring.
More unfortunately, Obama has provided the background for a litigation-friendly environment. If a larger, more financially stable company wants to steal something from a smaller company, they can sue them or just threaten with a costly legal battle. Likewise, “disparate impact” and IRS asset forfeiture are two practices which demonize business owners by merely suggesting wrongdoing — and put the burden of the business owners to prove their innocence.
And recently, the Obama Administration has decided to wage war on business inversions, by declaring companies who wish to move their headquarters abroad in order to stay competitive, to be “unpatriotic”, and “tax dodgers”, calling the perfectly legal process of inversion to be a “loophole”. Couple that with the fact that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and it’s no wonder that businesses struggle to survive.
Usually the Wall Street Journal is fairly en pointe. It’s hard to believe any editor would have let this article be published while utterly ignoring Obama’s detrimental business policies that have plagued the economy over the last 6 years — which is why something needed to be said.