Indeed, China always seems to be on the man’s mind. He has even reportedly expressed envy for Chinese president Hu Jintao. “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China,” the New York Times reported last year. “As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’” What’s so pathetic here — other than the obvious grotesqueness of envying a totalitarian tyrant — is that Obama’s objections are so baseless. Americans remain the most productive workers in the world. As Obama himself notes, we attract more foreign investment than any other country.
Meanwhile, it’s Obama and his allies in Congress who’ve been at the forefront of the effort to make America less competitive. Obama delayed free-trade deals for years, until he could lard them up with Big Labor giveaways. He has thrown roadblocks in front of a multibillion-dollar U.S.–Canada pipeline project, which many ambitious and imaginative people see as something like this generation’s Hoover Dam or Golden Gate Bridge. He did postpone those new job-killing smog regulations his EPA administrator wants, but he has also let everyone — including foreign investors — know that he’ll put them back on the agenda if he’s reelected.
In 2008, Obama said Bush’s deficit of $9 trillion was “unpatriotic.” Now he questions the patriotism of those who think the Obama deficit of $15 trillion argues against spending even more money we don’t have. And of course, there’s that giant unfunded disaster known as Obamacare, which Nancy Pelosi claimed was a “jobs bill” because it would lead to “an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”
But, yes, by all means, let’s blame our lack of competitiveness on the American people.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You can reach him by e-mail at [email protected], or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2011, Tribune Media Services, Inc.