What is Obamanomics?
Obamanomics is the use of big
government--such as regulation, taxes, spending--in a way that ends up
benefiting big business and the most entrenched special interests.
Look at the healthcare regulations that are being debated on
Is it much different from Bushonomics?
If you were to define Bushonomics as
his last year, I'd say that was the perfect preface to Obamanomics. Bush
mostly tried to cut taxes and did not expand regulations, but Obama is a
bigger believer in government than Bush--at least than Bush professed to
be. Think of Bush's last few months with the bailouts of
So who wins in Obamanomics?
General Electric and
You argue in your book that big business and big government actually work together.
Yes. The idea that big business and big government are rivals is what
I call "the big myth." It's true about half the time, and the other half
of the time, big business lobbies for and profits from big government.
This is not new under
You say that there has been "hypocrisy" in the Obama campaign and presidency.
Where I think it's most egregious is the difference between his rhetoric and what he's doing on healthcare, where he packages it as his enemies being funded by well-funded special interests, where he is literally cutting backroom deals with drug makers. The one particular incident where it's most acute, though, was probably in June when he signed the law regulating tobacco, where he said that he was signing this law despite the influence of Big Tobacco, but the bill had been supported by Philip Morris for years, and in fact, Philip Morris had helped write the bill, according to some media reports.
You mention Obama's backroom deals with drug companies. How is that
affecting the healthcare debates in
you see, some of the campaign pledges that Obama had made he has now
dropped from his healthcare reform. He is not going to try to get
Why do lobbyists benefit from Obamanomics?
Whenever government gets more involved in the economy, a lobbyist
becomes more of a necessity. If the government is leaving your business
alone, you might not need a lobbyist. When the government is handing out
hundreds of billion of dollars, investing in a lobbyist becomes more
worthwhile. So Obamanomics is a broad stimulus for
Aren't there lobbyists for both sides?
Who can hire the former top
But hasn't the Obama administration been pretty tough on lobbyists?
Obama doesn't have to be directly helping lobbyists to be indirectly helping them. If he cracks down on them in one way, just the fact that he is adding to regulations, handing out hundreds of billions of dollars, and also increasing mandates and ramping up bailouts--all of that is making lobbying a crucial part of business, especially a big business.
Has Obama done anything right since he started his presidency?
He has, to some extent, increased transparency, which has been good, and he hasn't bailed out everybody. He's allowed some businesses to fail. I have hope that he will try and make a serious effort to cut down on government waste and on pork-barrel spending, and I think that would clean up corruption and limit the growth of government.
What will surprise readers most?
To what extent big business is wanting to be regulated more and sometimes wanting even to be taxed more. The common assumption is that big business wants to be left alone, but I document that in many cases, probably half the time, that's simply not the case.
What is your solution?
The only way to get rid of corruption in the high places is to get rid of the high places. Government should get out of the business of picking winners and losers. A free market is the fairest system for small businesses and new businesses, while a heavily regulated market and a subsidized market protect the current big business.
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President Obama's Surprising Relationship With Lobbyists and Big Business: Tim Carney discusses Obamanomics | Jessica Rettig
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