The Anti-Free-Enterprise President

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

President Barack Obama declared Tuesday, “This is what this campaign is going to be about.” He was not talking about jobs. He was not talking about the economy—not even about the budget deficit. He was referring to divisive, disingenuous character attacks against presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney and a rhetorical assault on job creators.

How far we’ve come from what Obama said in 2008 that his administration would be about.

Yet these attacks on free enterprise reveal more than just the end of “hope and change.” They reveal a president unacquainted with the free market — and therefore hostile to it.

The president’s tactics are so extreme that some in his own party are recoiling in disgust. Until now, it was unthinkable that the president would base his campaign on undermining the nation’s confidence in our free market system.

Maybe, though, it should not surprise us. His policies have been an affront to the private sector — constraining job creation and economic growth. His words are now catching up with his actions.

From “Obamacare” to excessive regulation, from anti-growth tax policy to stimulus handouts, the Obama administration has left the free market battered and bruised. Its misguided attempts at top-down job creation have not worked. In many cases, they have backfired.

In Obama’s view, government exists to use taxpayer money, without our permission, to prop up failing companies — often to benefit of his campaign donors.

Such is the story of Solyndra, which gobbled up over a half-billion dollars of thoughtlessly allocated stimulus funds, only to go bankrupt and lay off more than a thousand employees.

Obama, standing at the solar energy company’s California headquarters two years ago, praised businesses like Solyndra as the “true engine of economic growth.”

That’s the problem.

Solyndra is not alone. The tally of Obama’s government-sponsored ventures includes a long list of green energy companies like A123 Systems, Ener1, Amonix and Fisker Automotive. Each has gone bankrupt or failed to create the jobs promised — but not before taking taxpayer money.

Fisker, like Solyndra, took more than a half-billion dollars. Then, instead of creating jobs, it laid off workers and is now producing its automobiles in Finland.

In total, Obama’s Energy Department squandered billions on risky bets, a large share of which had ties to Obama’s allies and fundraisers. All the while, Obama made it harder for companies not looking for handouts to succeed.

Millions are looking for work, but “help wanted” signs are a rarity. The intrusion of the federal bureaucracy and Obama’s constant threat to bludgeon job creators with new taxes make it difficult for businesses to expand and create employment opportunities. Obama, however, blames the lack of jobs on everything from earthquakes to airport kiosks.

Free enterprise, private business and healthy competition have expanded the U.S. economy for generations. Romney understands this because he spent his life in the private sector. Obama, in contrast, never had to balance a company’s books, make a payroll, or grapple with government regulations.

His understanding of the economy is guided—or misguided—by that lack of real-world economic experience. While he surely wants more jobs for unemployed Americans, he has proven himself ignorant of what it takes to create them.

The president wants to distort Romney’s record because he certainly cannot defend his own: 23 million Americans struggling for work, more than $5 trillion in new debt, expanding government and shrinking wages.

Since he took office, Americans have endured a weak economy and worried about making ends meet. Family businesses are fearful of closing their doors. We have seen the product of Obama’s economic worldview — which he has now bared to the world.

To restore our economy, strengthen our country and ensure the next generation is better off, we need a president with the experience to make the right decisions. A president who understands how to cultivate our free market system so that job creators can thrive.

That is what this election is truly about.

Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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