Does anybody remember, back in the depths of the recession of 1981â€’82, how President Ronald Reagan kept his chin up and exhorted American businesses to work hard and produce an economic recovery?
Reagan had a program of tax cuts, limited domestic spending, deregulation, and a strong defense aimed at overturning Soviet Communism. He argued in speech after speech that his domestic plan would produce higher economic growth and lower unemployment, and that prosperity would generate the resources to fund a strong national security.
Cynics proliferated. But Reagan stayed with it, praising free enterprise and entrepreneurs. And eventually, sunny skies replaced gloomy clouds. “Morning in America” appeared in 1983â€’84.
But here’s the key point: When Reagan praised our capitalist system and the businesses inside it, he provided a psychological lift to accompany his fiscal program. That was leadership.
Now contrast President Reagan’s performance with President Obama’s recent attack on business. Instead of exhorting entrepreneurship, Obama demonized it. Here’s the money quote: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
That’s a put down to business recovery, not an exhortation. Reagan praised entrepreneurs into recovery. Why must Obama trash them into recession?
Read my full column here.