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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Obama's Caterpillar Case Study

Fred Barnes has an interesting piece that lays out Obama's philosophy on economics and it begins with the story of Obama's speech in Illinois back in February with Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens.

Aboard Air Force One, Obama chatted amiably with Owens and [GOP Congressman Aaron] Schock. Owens showed Obama two pages of a PowerPoint presentation. The first gave the details of China's stimulus, devoted mostly to infrastructure. The second was Obama's stimulus (drafted by congressional Democrats), with far less money going to building and repairing roads, bridges, and other projects. That was the problem, Owens told Obama: too little for infrastructure and thus too little to engage companies like Caterpillar, which had just furloughed 20,000 workers.

When Obama delivered his speech in Peoria, he either hadn't understood what Owens told him or simply refused to accept it. The stimulus package, he said, would be "a major step forward on our path to economic recovery. And I'm not the only one who thinks so." Owens, the president said, had told him that "if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off."

This was not only untrue, but proved to be embarrassing for Obama. After the speech, Owens talked to reporters at the foot of the podium. No, he wouldn't be bringing back any workers. (Later, Caterpillar announced that 2,500 of the layoffs would be permanent.) Owens and Schock flew back to Washington on Air Force One. This time, Obama ignored them. There was a chill. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and adviser David Axelrod walked past Owens and Schock repeatedly to speak to the press pool in the rear of the plane. They didn't stop to chat either.

Once again, Obama is a very cold, calculating president who is either the most ignorant president in history or he is succeeding in his civil socialist revolution.