“Is the middle class helped when government is thriving, or when businesses are thriving?” an essay by Pat Slattery

Today’s Guest Saturday post comes to us from Pat Slattery of The Free Market Project blog. It was originally published by Pat on October 11, 2012.

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Is the middle class helped when government is thriving, or when businesses are thriving?

I was disappointed in tonight’s debate. I thought Ryan would wipe the floor with Biden, and he clearly didn’t. Why? Most of the time to hear Ryan’s point, you had to listen over a Biden interruption or a Radditz interruption. How many times did they talk over his last line, which is the summation line, making the point. I thought Ryan was too deferential. He should have called Biden out on his behavior. I understand why he didn’t. As the younger man, I’m sure he didn’t want to seem petulant. But Biden was out of control. My problem is that Ryan had better points, but the aggressiveness and weird smiling and laughing made it tough to get to Ryan’s substance. Like I said, you rarely heard the summation of his point because someone was always talking over him.

All that said… Romney and Ryan have to hammer the following point home: Obama and Biden do not understand economics or business. Period. They are incompetent to hold their positions based on the fact that they have no idea how to accomplish the most necessary thing right now, which is growing the economy. I’m firmly convinced that they just do not know how.

Here’s my evidence. Tonight, and throughout this election, both candidates have talked about helping the middle class. Obama/Biden’s only apparent method for doing so is taxing the upper class. They want to “build from the middle.” Biden said it in his closing remarks: “We believe you build from the middle out, not the top down.”

HOW? How do you build from the middle? Middle class people don’t employ themselves, for the most part, and those that do have the same problems with taxes and regulations as bigger companies. How do you build the middle class without helping businesses? How do you help businesses? Less regulation that is more straightforward and less costly. Lower taxes and a simplified tax code. Taking away onerous burdens like Obamacare, that not only cost employers money, but are so complex that they create uncertainty in the market (what is this employee going to cost me?).

Romney and Ryan talk about helping the middle class in the only way it can be helped. Helping businesses (as outlined above) so that they can hire more people. As the market for workers gets tighter, pay goes up. It’s a simple supply and demand thing that Obama/Biden just don’t seem to understand.

How else do you help middle class people? Lower the price of energy. High energy costs in this country right now are a “Democrats Pandering to Environmentalists” tax. Personally, I’m sick of paying it. My life has actually been altered by having to pay so much for gas, and having prices go up in grocery stores in large part because of the cost of energy. Also, jobs in the energy sector are high paying jobs that would help a lot of middle class people.

What else? How about reducing the spending that is hanging over all of us, causing fear and doubt in the economy, and saddling us, ultimately with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt per person. If we don’t grow our way out of this mess, or at least make a dent in it through growth, someone is going to try and collect that debt, and there aren’t enough rich people to pay the bill. Who’s it going to fall to?

This “build from the middle” thing has got to be called out for the (to use Biden’s word) malarky that it is. Cutting middle income people’s taxes doesn’t improve their lot in life much. What raises people from poor to middle class, from middle class to upper middle class and rich is a thriving private sector. Large and intrusive government does not create a thriving private sector. Government picking winners and losers in the private sector does not create a thriving private sector, it mis-allocates resources. How does giving more power to Washington over our lives help anyone? When has it ever worked, anywhere in the world?

I would absolutely love, in the next debate, or even in a commercial, to hear Romney say, “Mr. President, I’ve watched you for four years, I’ve listened to you speak, and I can only come to the conclusion that you don’t know how the economy works, or how businesses work.” He could even add, “You don’t seem to even understand that the middle class is only helped when the private sector, when businesses, are thriving. You seem to think the middle class is helped when government is thriving.”

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4 thoughts on ““Is the middle class helped when government is thriving, or when businesses are thriving?” an essay by Pat Slattery

  1. I think Ryan did pretty well for having to deal with an angry condescending old man. I do think Ryan was too polite in one sense especially with both the moderator and Biden interrupting him. Surprisingly though his being too polite and Biden’s utter rudeness may have helped sway the independents to vote for Romney/Ryan. In a CNN poll people thought Ryan won over Biden 48 to 44. I thought that Romney did point out Obama’s clueless when it comes to businesses and the economy after Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment. But that does need to be repeated and reinforced.

  2. Yes, Ryan was too respectful toward Biden. However, now Romney and Ryan can run with the ball without Leftist hyena screams as to how nasty Ryan was during the debate.

    In my view, Ryan CHOSE not to be nasty for a very good reason.

    I hope that I’m correct in my assessment.

  3. Pat, I agree with you that Ryan was too deferential, as well as all the other points of your fine article. He should have called into question the antics of Biden. But more important, he should have called into question and refuted with more data and numbers the crazy economic and Libya assertions of Mr. Biden.

    However, at the end, and on balance, we have concluded at America’s Chronicle that The Romney-Ryan ticket will benefit the most by the debate base on the premise that visuals are stronger than words; that visuals last longer and that the antics and clownish behavior of the vice-president will be remembered long past the election when the arguments would have long passed into a foggy mist.

    Romney has mentioned before what you suggest, that the President doesn’t understand economics and the business world. I’m sure he will do it again in a proper manner and with respect. That is who Romney is. We have been underestimating Romney’s debate capabilities since before the primaries. He is a terrific debater and he knows the numbers.

  4. As I’ve seen the polling since I wrote this piece, I have to agree that the visuals of Biden acting like a jackass have overwhelmed other reactions. I was frustrated as I was listening for content and I kept hearing–listening to Ryan through Biden’s 82 interruptions and Raddatz’s talking over his summation points–Ryan make good points that were difficult to hear because of the aforementioned. For example, when Biden told that whopper about Catholic hospitals, etc., Ryan gave him a zinger that was great. He asked, “Then why are Catholic Bishops suing you?” When he said it, BOTH Biden and Raddatz were talking at the time. The other frustrating thing was when Ryan was talking about Medicare reform and the bipartisan support his plan had, Raddatz (and Ryan, I suppose) let Biden get away with saying that the Democrats who supported it when it was written are turning away from it now. Really? In an election season suddenly people who were bipartisan when trying to solve a problem are back in their own camps as the top of the ticket demagogues the solution? I’m shocked! (And, I don’t even know that it’s true. Biden lied so obviously on so many things–Libya, his votes on Afghanistan and Iraq, the Catholic church, etc.) that it’s tough to believe anything he said.

    But, it turns out that Ryan seems to have played it just right, despite my desire that he stomp Biden under foot. (Note: I love Paul Ryan, and I’ve always been disgusted by Joe Biden.) It turns out that two constituencies that are desperately needed were very turned off by Biden’s antics, and gained respect for Ryan’s knowledge and demeanor during the debate: independents and women. So, despite my inner UFC fighter wishing Ryan had grabbed Biden by the back of the head and bounced his face off of the table, it seems that polls have proved me wrong.

    My other point, which is more important than determining who won the debate, is that Romney has to more forcefully bring out that Obama doesn’t understand economics and business. The “build from the middle” line is nonsense. Nothing is built from the middle. Businesses and jobs certainly aren’t built from the middle. If Romney just turned to Obama and asked, “How does your plan help the businesses that employ the vast majority of middle income Americans create more jobs?” Their plan is to tax the wealthy (which, if you look at a static model–which is always wrong–of revenue raises more revenue for the government). How does that create jobs? Their plan is to have more job training (see this article by John Stossel about government job centers: http://www.humanevents.com/2012/10/03/stossel-we-fund-dependency/ ). But how does training people for jobs that don’t exist help people get jobs (even if that was what jobs training actually did)? They want to help people go to college. Um… so when they graduate with a huge debt they can join the other college graduates on the unemployment line? And they want to “invest” in things. None of those things creates jobs. One of them actually hurts job creation, and the overall spending definitely hurts job creation. As Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute says, Obama’s plan is to create wealth by taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another pocket.

    The incompetence of Obamanomics must be made clear. Romney and Ryan are great at reciting the results so far, but now they have to really make it clear that those results are the only results possible under a plan that ignores fundamentals of economics and business. I think that they have to put into people’s minds the phrase, “Mr. President, you do not understand business or economics.” PERIOD. After that has sunk in, and become lodged in the minds of voters (who wants a president that doesn’t understand business or economics?) Romney can explain how the middle class is REALLY helped. And it will resonate, because middle class people KNOW that they work for companies owned by others. They KNOW that it’s not Obama that signs the front of their paycheck. And they know that the worse business gets, or if it remains stagnant, so does their salary and the possibility of them getting laid off increases. There are huge numbers of people who work for small and medium sized businesses, and they need to know that Obamanomics is not helping the source of their livelihood. It’s crunch time and it has to be blunt. Not rude. But blunt.

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