A tough editorial in The Economist, “Obama v BP: America’s justifiable fury with BP is degenerating into a broader attack on business,” which concludes:
Mr Obama is not the socialist the right claims he is (see article). He went out of his way, meeting BP executives on June 16th, to insist that he has no interest in undermining the company’s financial stability. But his reaction is cementing business leaders’ impression that he is indifferent to their concerns. If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so. The collapse in BP’s share price suggests that he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding.
Nobody should underestimate the scale of BP’s mistake, nor the damage that it has caused. But if the president does not stand up for due process, he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to America’s environment is bad enough. The president risks damaging its economy too.
In Columbus, Ohio, today President Obama made his first stop in the Administration’s “Recovery Summer” tour to highlight economic progress the country is making. Vice President Joe Biden continues the events, travels to Midland, Mich. on Monday for the groundbreaking of the new Dow Kokam advanced battery manufacturing facility. Cabinet officials will be on the road extensively through the next several months.
Amid all the highlighting of stimulus projects, “clean energy” initiatives, union-affiliated training programs and other White House priorities, the Administration would also do well to affirm some fundamental principles, the ones upon which U.S. economic vitality has always been based: the rule of law and government restraint. Or, as the Canadian economist, Professor Ross McKitrick, put it last night at the Competitive Enterprise Institute gala in evoking the wisdom of Julian Simon:
Nations that enjoy the benefits of plentiful resources are those that preserve freedom, support entrepreneurship, encourage risk-taking and allow citizens to enjoy the fruits of their own work. In other words, the abundance of resources is a consequence of the ideas a nation lives by.
(Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.)
UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): NBC’s David Gregory on Squawk Box as reported by Newsbusters:
One, you’ve got nobody in the inner sanctum of the President’s advisers who has ever run a business – who have never run a business. And that’s a real problem. I think there’s a level of recognition about that being a problem in the West Wing as well. But the rhetoric and the policy substantively, a lot of people feel, is anti-business and getting to a point where it could really discourage businesses in the United States and certainly the multinationals working here as well.
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