False Narratives of an Atlas Shrugged Variety

“I manage a mid-size company here in Dallas. We have weathered this recession pretty well. And actually, we’re looking to expand now. We have the capital to invest in a new manufacturing center to employ about 65 people and we’re looking at hiring at an average of about $43,000.00 a year. Now, we’re holding on making this expansion because of the Obamacare. The regulations, the costs on insurance for our employees is making us hold back. Otherwise we’d be putting these people back to work.”*

That’s a story you hear a lot if you have any interest in politics. Sometimes this pitch goes so far as a business manager threatening to shutter his shop if President Obama wins reelection.  We can disregard those as just as solipsistic and childish as the quadrennial oaths to flee to Canada or France by some self-righteous liberal Hollywood type.

The narrative, however, of a business too timid to expand sounds like a lie, even when it can avoid the accusation of base politicking. A business is selfish. Period.

If a businessman sees the opportunity to make an investment that will make him more money, he will make it. No capitalist will skip expanding their business and increasing their profit. No more than they would seriously entertain the idea of shuttering their business to spite the American people for allowing Barack Obama’s reelection.

Various callers to public radio shows and talking heads filling time on television make the seemingly more reasonable argument. They do not see it as profitable to expand, given the regulations by Obamacare. That is where it stops. There are too many regulations in Obamacare to expand manufacturing or hire more than 50 workers. No more specific than that. Just the vague governmental threat of having to pay for healthcare for your lower-middle class salaried workers causes these titans of industry to shrivel with repulsion. Where’s the true capitalist response to this? It seems obvious.

These people are not capitalists. There’s nothing capitalist about avoiding a profitable move.

Guess what, if paying a pittance for your workers to have basic healthcare coverage ruins your business plans, then you really didn’t have serious plans, did you? This is bluster and we have seen it before.

Recall Joe the Plummer – the unlicensed contractor who would have owned his own company if it weren’t for vague regulations and that same 3% increase in taxes that he wasn’t even in the tax bracket to have to suffer. The lie of Joe the Plumber unfurled too late after it broke. We now know that he was not a licensed plumber. He did not have enough money to buy the business he was swearing then-candidate Obama would prevent him from buying. He was not even really middle class. He was a working-class dreamer with a common case of Lotto Brain.

My suspicion is that all these would-be tycoons are suffering the same disorder, telling themselves that the one thing keeping them back are the machinations of the proposed (key word) center-left policies of one individual. They overlook their lack of capital, or lack of qualifications to even have that type of business in the first place.

I call bullshit on these news makers. Put up or shut up, let’s see these business plans. Let’s see your actuarial tables and how the President’s proposals make it impossible for you to make investments. This is opportunistic bluster at its worst. It’s happened before with Joe the Plumber, and until we call these people to account, they’ll continue to get away with making the claim that vague regulations are preventing a monumental recovery spear-headed by America’s famed business community. A community who apparently are in an Atlas Shrugged-like hibernation to punish the Looter -in-Chief and his cadre of parasitic supporters.


*A paraphrase of a caller to the Diane Rehm show at the 10 a.m. hour on Sept. 10, 2012.

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