President Obama’s Horribly Anti-Capitalist Monday

This has not been a good day for President Obama. And I say this after he has come off of the worst summer I believe any President has had since a certain President found out about a blue dress that was not going away. Today, President Obama addressed many in the financial community at the Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan, roughly two hot dog carts away from the New York Stock Exchange. He then thumbed his nose at the financial community, refusing to parlay his visit with a trip to the famed exchange floor. There was a President once who embraced the floor of the exchange, a symbol of enterprise and prosperity in this country:

Reagan exchange

But Obama’s dis of the stock exchange paled in comparison to his inane moralizing at the Federal Hall. No man who has signed into law a $1 trillion spending bill has any right to talk to anyone about financial responsibility, ever. And to tell titans on Wall Street that the solution to the bad lending that got us into this mess is to start doing more bad lending again is just intolerable. The speech was met with a complete lack of applause from the audience, something this President is not used to, having spent a great deal of the last few months limiting his public appearances to labor union audiences and various folks who embrace his socialized medicine proposal. The audience was not rude and dangerous (you know, like those gun-toting, first-amendment-screaming freaks at the townhall meetings). No, these bankers and financiers were mostly just aghast that the President of the United States would use the anniversary of the day that rocked the financial world to come preach at them the Marxian message of class warfare, and to threaten more punitive measures via executive compensation limits, community lending requirements, and other such failed experiments. Wall Street, of course, is not concerned. They know this President is all bark and no bite. His moralizing serves the purpose of getting him sound bites from the suckers at MSNBC, and yet the toothless threats never come to fruition, saving Obama from a fight with the people he last wants to fight with. If I were a left-winger, I would be appalled. I wonder if the Wall Street folks who gave him $37.6 million in campaign contributions last year feel offended that he would not poke his head in the door and say hello?

Hours before the Wall Street debacle, the President overtly went back on his explicit promise to avoid protectionist behaviors that are universally acknowledged to have worsened the Great Depression. He did this by implementing a 35% tariff on tires imported from China. Yes, tires, imported from China. As the Cato Institute astutely pointed out just hours later, consumers suffer as they face higher prices, producers suffer, as they are the ones who have shifted this low-end tire production to China, and workers suffer as those in the supply chain face layoffs in the face of lower demand brought about by higher prices. The only possible beneficiary to this protectionist drivel is President Obama himself, who gains the rhetorical benefit of telling his friends in big labor that he did something for them. This is a terrible development for those hoping Obama would govern as the free trader that Bill Clinton did.

Bashing free trade and insulting investment bankers and traders. Just the start of a new week for the most hostile-to-capitalism President America has ever, ever had.