The Obama Watch

The List Could Be Longer

Fifty ways the Obama Administration has hurt the economy and job creation.

By 4.27.12

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President Obama has been the worst president for business in my lifetime. The result: a stagnant economy where some half of American adults do not pay federal income taxes and almost half live in a household that received benefits from the U.S. government.

The President's rhetoric demonizing business and dividing the country, and the Administration's actions hurting the business environment or specific industries have dampened business hiring.

To be fair, President Obama has taken some actions that have been helpful: Pushing through the Bush trade deals, opposing Internet restrictions, shepherding the recent JOBS Act that removed government barriers to capital formation and obtaining additional spectrum for broadband. These have been positive, pro-innovation and pro-business measures -- but they have not been enough.

Since President Obama has taken office we have at least two million more employable Americans, yet after trillions of dollars of stimulus and deficit spending, we actually have fewer non-government jobs than we did the day he took the oath of office. The totality of the actions below has cast such a pall over our economy that we will be stuck in a jobless recovery for the foreseeable future. President Obama and his Administration have…

  1. Increased the deficit more than $4 trillion, causing the first-ever downgrade in the U.S. credit rating and for the first time raising serious questions about U.S. financial stability.
  2. Issued 106 new major rules that cost U.S. businesses $11 billion in implementation and more than $46 billion each year.
  3. Blocked Boeing's new South Carolina factory from opening to assuage his union supporters.
  4. Raided a Gibson Guitar factory for violating an arcane India law even though India does not believe the law has been broken.
  5. Issued an "ambush" election rule allowing quick unionization and limiting an employer's ability to present reasons for non-unionization.
  6. Restricted how companies hire unpaid interns, cutting the link between students and employers.
  7. Blocked the construction of the Keystone Pipeline that would have given jobs to thousands of American workers, further reducing the domestic oil supply and forcing our ally Canada to turn to China as a more willing partner.
  8. Cut authorization of permits restricting drilling in Gulf and slowed permitting of new oil drilling so our future oil supply will be restricted and gas prices will be higher.
  9. Mandated third party certification for all manufacturers participating in the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, which has raised costs for manufacturers and created a disincentive for participation in the program.
  10. Funded Solyndra and other unworthy companies, wasting taxpayer money but also discouraging other privately funded companies from entering the market.
  11. Only moved on Bush free trade agreements and failed to enter one new free trade agreement, even while our competitors have entered many, making U.S. goods more expensive to export.
  12. Pushed for passage of card check legislation that would infringe upon the rights of workers and make the United States a less desirable place to open a business.
  13. Created a new rule requiring every employer to post notices on union "rights," (found illegal by a federal court in April).
  14. Changed rules on unionization votes so the majority of employees no longer need to vote to unionize, allowing easier unionization.
  15. Disparaged the city of Las Vegas twice, which led to an immediate and dramatic fall-off in hotel room bookings and hospitality jobs.
  16. Proposed onerous restrictions on government officials attending trade shows, threatening vital cooperation between business and government to create jobs.
  17. Mandated that every hotel swimming pool have special access for the disabled, causing pools to close or hotels to add expensive add-ons, hurting the hotel industry and employment.
  18. Imposed a requirement that every employer with more than 49 employees provide health care insurance or pay a fine.
  19. Allowed the United States to become the highest corporate tax nation in the developed world.
  20. Required every children's product to undergo expensive testing, threatening thousands of small businesses that make children's products.
  21. Demonized businesses and one-percent income earners consistently as greedy.
  22. Increased the number of IRS audits of successful job creators while dramatically cutting audits of those reporting no income.
  23. Proposed regulating gas fireplaces in homes, threatening a large segment of the market despite no energy rationale.
  24. Failed to approve one new nuclear plant, increasing our energy dependence.
  25. Defended EPA "strong-arming" of property owners by threatening fines -- March 2012 Supreme Court's unanimously rejected EPA position.
  26. Ignored proposals of his own Bipartisan Deficit Commission and thus guaranteed further choking deficits and financial uncertainty.
  27. Imposed a 2.3 percent new excise tax on innovative medical devices.
  28. Imposed a new investment income "surtax" of 3.8 percent.
  29. Raised the Medicare Payroll tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent.
  30. Required every individual to buy health insurance as part of his healthcare reform, which the Congressional Budget Office says will cost twice as much as the White House originally advertised.
  31. Proposed a seven percent hiring quota for "disabled" workers in every job category for government contractors, creating a new expensive burden to doing business with government.
  32. Expanded the definition of "disabled" to include people with diabetes and heart disease, among others, and specified new quotas for hiring under this definition.
  33. Opposed "repatriation" of U.S. corporate profits made overseas (and already taxed), thus encouraging U.S. companies to invest those profits in foreign enterprises.
  34. Proposed higher taxes for business-use airplanes, raising the cost of many U.S. operations.
  35. Sought to give the IRS the power to license all tax preparers, discouraging entrepreneurs by raising the cost to enter the market.
  36. Attacked the Supreme Court twice directly, undercutting confidence in the separation of powers.
  37. Raided California medical marijuana facilities, harming entrepreneurs and threatening medical treatments.
  38. Sought and signed the Dodd-Frank financial reform law with its hundreds of new rules and restrictions that impose billions in new costs on financial companies.
  39. Advocated for the "Buffett Rule," which would discourage U.S. investment and barely dent the deficit.
  40. Expressed plans to raise the capital gains tax, which would discourage U.S. capital formation and drive investment overseas.
  41. Created new emissions standards for industrial boilers that may cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses a total of $14.5 billion.
  42. Pursued his campaign pledge to adopt electronic medical records, at an estimated cost of as much as $100 billion. The plan is already costing jobs.
  43. Set new energy-use mandates for many products, discouraging innovation and consumer choice and raising product costs.
  44. Imposed new restrictions on the number of hours driven by truck drivers, costing more than $400 million with no proven additional safety benefit and raising the cost of goods shipped in the United States.
  45. Failed to confront drug company payoffs/rebates to doctors, thus raising the cost of health care.
  46. Negotiated secret trademark treaties that are so secret their effects are unknown.
  47. Failed to make government more transparent by restricting FOIA requests, according to the Washington Post, making review of government actions difficult.
  48. Neglected to do anything about providing guns to Mexico drug cartels, which resulted in the death of U.S. Border Patrol agents, causing worldwide doubt as to U.S. rule of law.
  49. Perpetuated the fraud of "green jobs" to sell and justify stimulus funds with little evidence to support the market for these jobs.
  50. Investigated leading U.S. companies, such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel and Qualcomm, which encouraged other countries to do the same.

No doubt some might quibble with some items on this list; others could probably take it up to 100. The point is that the Obama Administration has hurt business interests and job creation. While President Obama and his administration aren't solely responsible for America's economic turmoil, they have definitely hurt much more than they helped. 

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About the Author

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and author of the New York Times best-selling books, Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World's Most Successful Businesses and The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. His views are his own.