John M. Kunst, Jr.: Obama’s class warfare

by John M. Kunst, Jr.

After spending more than 800 billion taxpayer dollars to stimulate a weakened economy with only mediocre increases in overall employment to show for it, it comes as no surprise the president chooses to attack Romney’s management of Bain Capital as the focal point de jour for the 2012 campaign. At a press conference following the NATO summit, the president carefully stated that Romney’s record and Bain’s record were fair game because private equity seeks to maximize profits for investors while his ” job (as president) is to figure out how everybody has a fair shot.”

A fair shot? There is no other nation on earth that provides its citizens who want to work with a fair shot. If you want to work, you can, and our laws provide you with the opportunity to go wherever your individual ingenuity, effort and acumen will take you. So what does the president mean when he says he needs to make certain we all have what our laws already provide?

The answer lies in his continuing attack on private equity and free enterprise. It is a continuation of the class warfare he orchestrated last summer with the impasse over debt and deficits. To the president, “profit” – even an increase in one’s hourly wage – is a dirty word for which the only remedy is more taxes to support bigger government that can then employ more people, the vast majority of whom have little or no incentive to advance on their own initiative or merit.

The most recent attack add features former employees of a Kansas City steel plant, GST, purchased by Bain in 1993 when Romney was at the helm. But the company went bankrupt and was sold in 2001 long after Romney left Bain to resurrect the hopelessly failing Salt Lake City Olympics. According to the former employees, Romney shut down their business, gave them all pink slips and left then with “nuthin’.” Despite the overlooked fact that Romney had nothing to do with shutting down GST, the attack adds takes no account of the plight facing our domestic steel industry since the 1970s. Prior thereto, Pittsburgh and Gary, Ind. were the leading steel producers in the world. Thereafter, a combination of intense foreign competition and crippling union contracts wreaked havoc with our domestic steel industry.

Rather than attacking private enterprise and the Romney/Bain business model, I want the president to provide me with concrete examples of how his stimulus plans will create and guarantee real, everlasting jobs that will never be impacted by adverse market conditions. Until he proves it, all I have seen is $500 million to a failed Solyndra with no accountability for the loss, theft or corruption involved, and $800 billion in other “shovel ready” projects, many of which never materialized but our grandchildren will still be paying for it 50 years from now.

We can also look at the unnecessary bailout of GM and Chrysler. Unnecessary because these companies were bankrupt and headed for reorganization as debtors in possession. Under court-supervised reorganization, these companies would still be in business, and still have employees to assemble cars. True, reorganization would have resulted in layoffs; but, the president would have you believe that without the bailout, the nation would have lost the entire automotive industry. We are not that naïve. The administration will never tell you, but under the government controlled bailout, massive numbers of salaried and hourly employees were permanently laid off, nearly 1,000 dealerships were closed, and funds were transferred from salaried security plans to hourly plans – a gift to the unions in exchange for union support and votes.

The president’s plan is a repeat of European socialism, which we are watching crumble before our very eyes. Do we want to repeat that here and abandon our exceptionalism in favor of a mindset that promises a “chicken in every pot?” I hope not because at the end of life, nothing is free, there are no guarantees, but hard work and personal initiative always produce a sense of satisfaction and happiness.

John M. Kunst, Jr. lives in Fairplay.

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