It's the Bureaucrats, Stupid
It is hard to know whether Congressman Mike Kelly knew that his delicious diatribe on the House floor would be the perfect follow-up to Obama of Roanoke or not. But it was.
Thus, I submit that all you really need to know about the two general visions for America being debated in this election cycle can be summed up by contrasting the Pennsylvania congressman's now semi-famous rant and Roanoke. Oh, it's not all there is to know, but perhaps it really is all one needs to know -- as it perfectly illustrates the progressive "you didn't build that" government-centered mindset in action on Main Street, as that very mindset plays out every hour of every business day, destroying businesses, hopes, dreams, and lives.
Once the very foundational nature of this insidiousness is understood, everything else falls into place. Perhaps even in the minds of the precious moderates and independents. It's the bureaucrats, stupid!
Vote Obama in 2012, and you have cast your ballot for more rules and more paperwork and more bureaucrats to answer to should you dare to try to carve out your little piece of the pie without government help. Vote against Obama, and you are at least saying "no" to the Roanoke vision.
Yes, bureaucrats, bureaucracies, red tape, endless and mindless regulations are the real cancer that is sapping the freedom from not only our economy, but also our very lives. As many are beginning to find out, and as Mr. Kelly so passionately described, red tape and bureaucrats cripple or destroy potential business deals on the surface every minute. But the more ominous impact is that below the surface, this dynamic depresses and numbs the human spirit of the would-be self-starting entrepreneur. And do not think for a minute that this is by accident.
True entrepreneurs naturally embrace the challenges of competition and marketing and of building a team, because those are inherent hurdles in a great game where the winners -- and there are many winners -- can achieve freedom and independence and self-actualization. And in this game, you win by having a good idea and by working hard and working smart and by innovation pursued with boldness. You win when your customers and your employees win, too. Win-win-win.
There is nothing in this great game that will ultimately defeat the entrepreneur. It is simple human nature. There is, however, one way to defeat the entrepreneur and thereby ruin an entrepreneurial economy.
Change the very nature of the game.
Yes, rig the game so that honesty and hard work and innovation are merely coins of a foolish realm. Rig the game so that the little microbial rules become more important than the game itself -- thereby elevating the little humans who sit in government cubicles 40 hours a week with no risk above the dreamers who work 100 weeks and who are willing to risk everything.
Moreover, continue to confiscate more and more of the fruits of entrepreneurial success so you can give more and more salary, health care, and other benefits to the bureaucrats who are paid to destroy those same entrepreneurs. And then, to top it off, have a president who gives a speech letting you know that not only does he approve of this and want more of it, but he enjoys insulting the people who deigned to have an American dream in the first place, by giving credit for their success to the very folks who are making it damned near impossible to succeed.
This takes irony and chutzpah to new levels.
And don't think for a minute that these bureaucratic Barney Fifes don't know inside that they don't have the stones to risk a start-up business, and don't think for a minute that they don't enjoy the power they are given over those who do. That's why the crowd in Roanoke was high-fiving and giving amens to brother Barack as he was taking the movers and shakers down a peg or two. The resentment was palpable.
Yes, this is how you kill the entrepreneurial spirit. Kill the entrepreneurial spirit, and you kill America. I think the appropriate euphemisms are "hope and change" and "fundamental transformation."
In Representative Kelly's particular case, he was describing how government red tape is suffocating his business by coming between him and his banker. Kelly is in the auto business, and he has a banking relationship with a man he grew up with and who has an office near Kelly's establishment. Everything that a banker could possibly need to know about the creditworthiness of Kelly's business is readily available through the very nature of their relationship and their proximity.
Now, one might think that what government should want is for bankers to have a good idea of the creditworthiness of their clients so that we have a viable business environment. You might remember that little subprime mortgage meltdown and all of that, right? This was the result of government-mandated non-assessment of creditworthiness.
What the Obama of Roanoke government really wants, however, is raw power. One good way to have it is to take a commonsense and mutually beneficial business relationship away from Kelly and his neighboring banker in Pennsylvania, and give it to nameless, faceless bureaucrats in Washington who now have the power of Dodd-Frank and 1,100 pages of forms to wield over Kelly and his banker.
And to folks who believe that "you didn't build that," this is music to their ears. They either believe it in ignorance or cheer it with their resentment. Or both. And it's not just Dodd-Frank. This is what will make everything about ObamaCare like pulling teeth -- including pulling teeth. This is the EPA and the INS and the IRS and the TSA and all the other alphabet agencies becoming the focus of our waking hours.
Then there is the government agent Rep. Kelly mentioned, who refused to allow a ballpark to open after 2 million dollars of improvements were completed because the "mirrors in the men's room were a quarter-inch too low." Let me reiterate that, in case you glossed over it. A newly renovated ballpark, with 1,500 paying customers waiting outside and the teams ready to go, was told "no" by some smarmy, paper-pushing government inspector who is supposed to be working for them. And the reason had nothing to do with the mirrors. It was for the same reason male dogs do what male dogs do. They can.
This bureaucrat dominated his little corner of the real world because he could. Period. This is Roanoke America. When government agencies choose to do business with us, we do not have the freedom to take our business elsewhere. We just have to take it. I can only hope that some of the progressives among the 1,500 disappointed folks at the ballpark in Kelly's district realized that they have been the ones voting for this madness.
The result of this madness is we can't get much accomplished because we have to get approval on this and triplicate on that, and on and on it goes. Forget the new seats and the new paint and new scoreboard and the fresh sod. Forget the folks who paid for a ticket and are waiting outside. The paper says the damned mirrors are a quarter-inch too low! Shut her down!
This is the same mindset that informs a banker and a customer who have known each other for 40 years that they must get their business relationship put on 1,100 pages of paper and then blessed by someone in Washington who has never met either of them before they can proceed.
This mindset is foreign to the entrepreneur's very fiber. This kind of thing is what keeps the movers and shakers from moving and shaking. This is what motivates Atlas to shrug. This is what progressive elites know. This is what they want.
Remember, it was Dodd and Frank, and all the others who joined their vision of home ownership and mortgage underwriting, who killed the economy by telling bankers what loans they must make. So naturally, the Roanoke answer is to have more Dodd and Frank. You know, bureaucrats killed the economy, so we must give more power to bureaucrats to revive it.
Yes, it's the bureaucrats, stupid. And the stupid bureaucrats, too. Congressman Kelly tapped into that sentiment. This is why his speech has gone viral, and why the lessons he gave are central to this campaign.