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Speaking at the end of the NATO summit in Chicago, Mr. Obama responded with a confused statement that said private equity investing in the economy was “not always going to be a good thing for businesses or communities or workers.”

His position grew even more entangled as he talked with reporters, saying, “When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private-equity firm … your job is to think about how those communities can start creating clusters so that they can attract new businesses.” Huh?

In Mr. Obama’s government-centered world, private venture capital is OK up to a point, as long as the investors don’t make too much money and aren’t too successful. Profit’s OK, but only up to a point.

He wants the middle class to do well, but does not see the role that people with risk-taking capital play in building job opportunities for economic advancement at all income levels.

His anti-capitalism ad focuses on one of Bain Capital’s failures as though that proves that Bain Capital’s investments were not a good thing for the overall economy. But failure can be a byproduct of risk-taking, which is what made our country the greatest economy in the world.

Henry Ford’s first car company went out of business in 1908 before he invented the manufacturing assembly line that put automobiles within the reach of average Americans.

R.H. Macy weathered repeated failure in his retail career before he succeeded. The majority of all new businesses fail. But most try again, and many succeed.

Mr. Obama should know something about failure. Several of the “clean energy” firms he invested in went bankrupt. But in his case, the taxpayers had to pick up the tab. When a private equity firm’s investment fails, it usually comes out of the investors’ pockets.

One of Mr. Obama’s biggest bankruptcies - the solar-panel company Solyndra - cost taxpayers half a billion dollars.

This election is going to be decided by the economy and by the jobs picture, both of which remain weak. The Gallup Poll has Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney in a dead heat, and the Washington Post poll has them even on who can best fix the economy.

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a state-by-state report on the nation’s high unemployment levels. The national news media ignored the story, but BLS said that “just 16 states have seen job growth since President Obama took office,” Investors Business Daily reported.

“The remaining states have lost a combined 1.4 million jobs since January 2009. Even 34 months after the recession officially ended in June 2009, there are still 11 states that have fewer people working now than at the start of the recovery,” IBD said.

In the meantime, Mr. Obama really thinks he can win a second term by trying to persuade enough Americans that more private investment in our economy is “not always going to be good for business” or new job creation.

Think about that, for a moment.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.