After Taking Us for a Ride, A Vacation Is Warranted for Obama

Aug. 20, 2011

Frankly, I don’t understand the brouhaha over the Obama family’s vacation, decadent or otherwise. Critics who called on President Obama to cancel his Martha Vineyard vacation have been misguided.

Aren’t they over-reacting?

True, the timing of his vacation could have been better. Much of the country is suffering. World markets are in chaos. A check of history does reveal other presidents have canceled vacations during similar crises.

The well-to-do location also raised eyebrows of consternation. For one thing, Martha’s Vineyard does not have racial diversity. Even the Tea Party has more racial diversity. More noteworthy, nor does Martha’s Vineyard have economic diversity. The average American cannot afford the $50,000 per week price tag of Mr. Obama’s favorite vacation retreat – not to mention the huge amounts of money paid for security.

In contrast, President Clinton went camping in Wyoming, President Reagan went home to split firewood, and President Roosevelt served hot dogs to the Queen of England. Those symbols of leadership inspired Americans during critical times.

The feeling of President Obama’s critics is that he advocates certain principles, but his actions speak differently. I concur.

By now, you realize the headline and lead paragraphs in this piece are facetious.

No, I’m not a Republican. Nor am I a Democrat. As a Biz Coach columnist, count me also as an average American with a Cherokee Indian heritage, an Independent and a champion of the underdog — someone who is deeply worried about the direction of this country.

The spending is out of control. The risk of a double-dip recession is quite high. So what do we get now? We get an ill-advised bus-PR gimmick with only hints about a new jobs plan.

Yes, Mr. Obama’s bus tour has really taken us Americans for a ride — an abysmal, bumpy ride. As a former columnist at Belo Web sites and one who supported his small-business platfom during his campaign —  a Biz Coach column followed by a press release — I feel betrayed.

Incompetent economic policies

Actually, since his inauguration, President Obama has been leading us astray. Instead of focusing on the faltering economy, he gave us a dysfunctional health law, which has been one of the reasons small business has not hired workers. He advocated a plan to confiscate your retirement funds. And don’t forget about his unproductive environmental policy in Cap and Trade.

As a result, a recent Gallup Poll indicates Mr. Obama has a 26-percent rating for his handling of the economy. Americans aren’t confident about his policies with good reason – the policies and Americans aren’t working.

His rhetoric has suggested he will deliver an effective policy to create jobs and to ease the onerously high unemployment rate. He’s been wrapping himself in the American flag – issuing an ultimatum to opponents to support his secret jobs plan. He implies opponents of his ineffective policies are unpatriotic. Sure.

His bus tour was another indicator of incompetence – the type of economic-policy ilk that Americans suffered under President Carter. To state Mr. Obama is providing leadership is in reality an oxymoron. His so-called leadership is leading us down the wrong road.

The two Darth-Vader looking black buses cost $1.1 million – each – from Prevost, a Quebec-based manufacturer. Reportedly, the Secret Service made the purchase. If I were Canadian, I’d expect my government not to miss a chance to buy Canadian. Likewise, as a U.S. citizen concerned about jobs, I expect this administration to buy American.

Yes, it’s true all White House vehicles are black. However, instead of being a source for optimism, the black-colored buses are a reminder – the black mirrors the economy and morale of most Americans.

Obama behavior fails to match goals

For a president who claims he’s concerned about jobs for American workers, he’s committed a terrible PR gaffe – economically, environmentally and patriotically.

To send a message about job creation, appropriate action is indicated. But it’s not happening. No one will convince me that American bus manufacturers are incompetent. There’s at least one American bus manufacturer that’s able to meet security requirements to protect a U.S. president.

In fact, a cursory search on Google reveals three interesting American bus manufacturers:

  1. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns Forest River, a bus builder in Elkhart, Indiana – in business since 1903. Mr. Buffett just might have the resources to build such a bus.
  2. General Motors Ventures LLC is investing $6 million in Proterra Inc., a well-known manufacturer of zero-emission buses. Locations: Golden, Colorado and Greenville, South Carolina.
  3. How about American Coach in Decatur, Indiana?  Talk about a missed opportunity for PR. American Coach’s line of products: American Revolution, American Eagle, American Tradition and American Heritage. Any of the names would have been a PR coup of epic proportions.

(Note: If you work for a U.S. bus manufacturer excluded in this column, my apologies for my oversight. Please let me know. I’ll gladly add you to this list.)

One final example of Mr. Obama’s tone deafness: Not only did he miss an opportunity to put Americans to work building his buses, he missed another golden opportunity to show the No. 1 symbol of patriotism — the American flag.

There were no American flags anywhere on his buses. None.

So, I disagree with the critics of Mr. Obama’s vacations. I now believe he should enjoy long, decadent respites. When he’s not working, Americans are better off. They have a better chance of getting back to work.

From the Coach’s Corner, you might also wish to read Does the Federal Reserve Understand Small Business?  Here’s a menu of other public policy columns.

“A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

-Milton Friedman



Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Top Economist: Obama Bank Tax Is a Con

Jan. 16, 2010

It’s a challenge to put it politely – one of the nation’s leading economists says the bank tax promoted by President Obama is a sham.

“President Obama is at it again-pandering to rich and powerful political supporters, while portraying himself the guardian of the exchequer and champion of the little guy,” asserted Peter Morici, Ph.D., in a commentary. “The president says his proposed tax on the capital of the largest banks and financial institutions is intended to recoup the TARP money that has not or will not be repaid.”

Dr. Morici believes it amounts to a public relations gimmick to confuse voters in two ways:

“First, the banks the president would tax are repaying their TARP money with interest to the Treasury,” he explained. “Though not all of the TARP money given to the banks has yet to come back, the government will get it all back with a significant profit because the government was paid such generous interest under the terms of the TARP.

“Second, the president misused the TARP money by investing in GM and Chrysler, and GMAC, and that is where the government will lose money,” he added.

Noted authority

If you do an online search of his name, you’ll see Dr. Morici is a widely quoted business professor at the University of Maryland and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission in the Clinton Administration.

“If President Obama were to tax anything to recoup lost TARP funds, it should be cars,” he said. “However, that would anger the UAW, staunch supporters of the president and Democrats running for Congress.”

What I enjoy about this economist is that he understands the numbers, explains the impact of events and does it candidly.

“The bank tax is in response to public outrage over the $150 billion in bonuses paid in 2010 on 2009 bank earnings,” Dr. Morici contended. “The tax would only raise $9 billion in 2010 – a pittance compared to the bonuses.”

He points out the Wall Street bonuses were supposedly earned when the firms were bailed out by loans with interest rates at “near-zero.”

“The bankers are screaming about a death wound when the tax is merely a paper cut,” he said.

“The tax is a bad idea,” the economist maintained. “It won’t fix the banks, who continue trading complex derivatives, energy futures and repackaging old mortgage-backed securities instead of making new loans to worthy homeowners and businesses.”

Disingenuous developments

Here’s the first of two more disturbing and disingenuous developments:

“The president’s tax would let the bankers, who contribute mightily to campaigns of congressional Democrats and President Obama, keep their bonuses after they nearly wrecked the global economy with irresponsible risk taking on the public’s tab,” said Dr. Morici. “This is horrible public policy and demagoguery.”


“The proposed bank tax is meaninglessly small, serves no purpose toward reforming the banks, and is merely an attempt by the president to appear on the side of the auto industry and against the banks, when he is really on the side of union organizers and the bankers,” he wrote. “As with the union exemption from the Cadillac tax in the proposed health care reform compromise, the president is putting his political debts ahead of public purpose.”

Dr. Morici indicated the president would be well-advised to push for a 50 percent tax on bonuses exceeding a quarter of a million dollars, as is the case with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“Instead, the president lets the bankers keep their money, and sends Democrats calling for contributions,” he concluded. “It’s all very insidious.”

From the Coach’s Corner, read Dr. Morici’s economic analyses and his U.S. economic forecasts.

“Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.”

-Richard Armour


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.