“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Barack Obama's Persona Part II; The Academic

In following the point from a previous post that I believe Barack Obama is emotionally voided, I believe the second major component of his persona is that he is completely entrenched in the academic mindset.

Academia is a place where concepts and theories are king, where unrealistic concepts never have to be put to the fire to test their validity. It is a place where elite educators congratulate themselves on producing written thoughts on paper and theory lectures and not tangible measurements of creation and achievement.

For 12 years, Barack Obama served as a college professor at the University of Chicago Law School. This decade of academic mindset became thoroughly entrenched in him and is present even to this day. Even Liberal talking heads currently mention his press conferences have more of a tone of a college professor lecturing his class than anything else.

It should surprise no one that Barack Obama came from Academia. Do you ever wonder why there are so many Liberals in academia? It is not because they all decide one day to all be professors. It is because they gravitate to one of the only few places left in the world where they can exist with their failed, non-real world ideologies and get paid handsomely.

In contrast, however, academics will also shoot a proposal down based on their bravado academic reputations that prevent them from seeing possibilities. In 1965, Fred Smith turned in a term paper to his Yale professor that dealt with the concept on having centralized distribution hubs for a national package delivery company. So a package would go from New York City down to Memphis to be sorted; then back to the final destination across the river in Paramus, NJ. The paper received a “C” from his academic college professor stating it was implausible. Fred Smith had the last laugh though; he went on to found Federal Express.

To give you a real life story of mine comparing academia to real world, upon completing my Masters Degree I knew four different ways to determine a break-even selling price on a product to a customer; the exact price where a company selling a product does not make profit, but does not lose money either. At my first real job I was posed with a problem that Wal-Mart told my company that we needed to sell our product to them at a 20% loss, or we would lose their $80 million dollar business. I was completely a deer frozen in the headlights. I knew the text book instruction on how to figure out a break-even, but did not have real world experience to take it to the next level, or even understand there was a next level, in deciding whether we should sell something at a loss. I needed some real world experience to catch up with my education.

In the business world, if you say something completely foolish or wrong you are beaten to a pulp by upper management who are protecting their turf, and you probably do not get promoted. If you throw out an idea on the table, that you haven’t thought through thoroughly, it will be a feeding frenzy exposing all the holes in your suggestion. So you learn to think about every objection that could be brought up and all the real world considerations. Abraham Lincoln once said when he debated someone he would spend one-third the prep time thinking about what he would say, and two-thirds his prep time thinking what his opponent would say.

Academia is different however. You have a tenure certificate in your hand that protects your livelihood from mistakes and stupidity.

This was definitely the environment from where Barack Obama emerged from.

Our President announced that he would close down Gitmo, a great in-theory-promise to his left-wing supporters. Then after blurting this out, he realized that no state or country wanted to take any of the prisoners and there were legitimate reasons why Gitmo existed. A very bad promise in reality, only half thought through. He was congratulated by the academics on this idea before the operation of this project imploded. Academia vs. Real World.

There are countless examples of Obama not thinking about what he was saying. “Spread the Wealth”, No business trips to Las Vegas, the Special Olympics gaff on the late show, etc… All these show why the teleprompter is so valuable to him.

Obama’s stimulus package is completely borne from academia. It is based on all theories that will not work in the real world. You can’t spend your way out of a recession. Ask FDR who policies failed for 10 years eventually needing the industrial production of WWII to get us out of the Great Depression. Do we really think America will be on the road to recovery with a $13 Trillion debt? Taxes and inflation will have to follow this. If you make the rich and corporations pay more taxes to pay for this, they will only constrict their expenses, read cut jobs, that the middle and lower class people need resulting in even less consumer dollars - - extending the recession. It is a vicious cycle.

One story that you should read is how they increased taxes on the wealthy in Maryland believing this would increase their government coffers. The wealthy moved out of Maryland and took all their tax revenue with them and now Maryland has less tax revenue than when they started. Academia vs. the real world. This solution made so much sense up on the chalk board...

Bill Frezza had a great column stating that the $700 Billion bailout resulted in one million jobs. Doing the math, it cost us $787,000 per job creation. Frezza points out that Obama’s White House Economics advisers are all academic professors who never worked in the business world:

"They never had to meet a payroll. They never had to raise money to fund their businesses from skeptical investors. They never bet their life savings on their own business judgment. They never had to scramble to pay off a banker who called in a loan. They never had to decide whether to take a calculated risk to expand their workforce hoping to take market share from a fierce competitor. .. They never had to manage a reduction in force, explaining to employees that their jobs have been eliminated because the tax and regulatory burdens imposed by some new law forced them to cut costs. They never lost business to a government-subsidized competitor whose cost of capital was vastly lower than theirs. They never had to grease the palms of politicians offering constituent services to resolve a bureaucratic hangup caused by the labyrinthine government approvals these selfsame politicians inflict on many businesses. They never had to deal with a missed sales forecast caused by an economy so roiled by capricious and uncertain fiscal policy that frightened customers were holding back orders. They never had to deal with a key supplier that unexpectedly went bankrupt because their source of credit dried up as dollars got sucked out of the commercial economy into government debt... They never had to stand up in front of disappointed investors to explain why they lost money that had been entrusted to them. And you can be sure that none of them ever fell on their face and had to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and decide whether it was worth going through all of the joys described above to take another shot at building a business from scratch.

Go read their biographies. Do Christina, Austan, and Cecilia appear to you to be contributing members of the productive economy? Do you see any evidence that they've spent even a fraction of their careers creating jobs? What do you think qualifies these people to work as high level apparatchiks of a governing class determined to manage the businesses of others?

All three have Ph.D.'s from fancy universities. They are prize winning experts in macroeconomics. To have come this far you can bet that they are ambitious, articulate, well connected, and brilliant. Yet when the Council of Economic Advisers did its calculations to determine the number of jobs saved by the stimulus, they shamelessly counted assets and totally ignored liabilities.

… No, these people and those that appointed them are cunningly smart. It's we who are the fools for listening to them. Long after these experts return to their sinecures in academia to train another generation of economists on the wisdom of central planning and Keynesian pump priming, it's we and our children and our grandchildren who will be paying the price.”

So it is somewhat sad, we are left with a country with such major, serious problems, and a President who does not have the real world, tangible experience to fix them. He doesn’t even know where to start with his chalk in hand.

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