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Why Obama’s Definition Of Economic Fairness Is Fundamentally Wrong

By: Steve Johnson

1/27/2012 - 0 Comments

During the state of the Union address, President Obama once again made his case for economic ‘fairness’ to argue for more taxes and a larger government.

Obama believes that fairness cannot be achieved by the private sector of the economy, because people and nations are not fair to each other and they will never be without government policy to level the playing field.

Obama said it this way,

We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by.  Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

The only solution that Obama can see is for the government to step in and change the rules that are causing unfairness that result it economic inequality.  Part of this is correct and I’m glad that Obama realizes the source of the unfairness – government policy. 

But the part that he does not seem to realize is that no amount of government policy has ever been able to level the playing field.  And that is because it is impossible for government to make economic policies that are ‘fair’ and without competitive advantages and disadvantage for someone.  The only thing that government policies can do is change which businesses/nations get the competitive advantages and disadvantages.

All Obama can do is take unfair policies away from some companies and create new unfair policies for other companies.  The only question is which companies are politically connected to Obama, so they can get the new policies that create unfair advantages for them.   But this kind of politically determined ‘fairness’ is not fair at all.  In fact, all he is saying is that his influence is for sale to the highest bidding lobbyist. 

Obama is saying that the economy is distorted because the government is corrupt with crony capitalism and he is going to fix it with his own crony capitalism. This is exactly what he is doing with his green energy programs, his support for public education to limit school choices and Obamacare crowding out healthcare alternative competitors.  He is giving the lobbyist and companies that support him politically the competitive advantages by giving them easy government loans, tax subsidies, price controls and direct handouts.

This is anything but FAIR. 

Matthew Spalding from the Heritage Network had this to say;

“The idea that the government can and should step in to guarantee economic fairness is contrary to the founding principles that make America so great-and that enable its citizens to achieve success.  It is contrary to the very meaning of the American Dream.”

In all fairness, the fairest thing to do is to reduce government policies, subsidies, price controls and direct handouts. This would provide more opportunity for more people – equally opportunity – to compete in the marketplace for solutions.  The result would be lower costs, more jobs and a growing economy. 

Obama's idea of fairness is the sources of economic inequality.

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