- - Thursday, March 12, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Three recent developments should have had President Obama and liberals everywhere grinding their teeth.

Apple recently announced the biggest quarterly profit of any company in history — $18 billion. The company sold 75 million iPhones at a 40 percent profit per product. It’s the first company ever to have a valuation in excess of $700 billion.

Max Scherzer signed a contract with the Washington Nationals to throw a baseball over seven seasons for $210 million. Half of the money is deferred, but lucky Mr. Scherzer will receive a cool $30 million for every year he pitches for the Nationals.

At this year’s Oscars, all nominees received “gift bags” valued by the Internal Revenue Service (I’m glad they’re still on the job) at $160,000 per bag. The already-famous, well-paid entertainers will take home even more merely for being, well, famous and well paid.

There’s been no outcry from liberals. True, these are politically popular industries that have escaped progressives’ ire. But complaints would also sound foolish and petty when directed against talented individuals and financially sound companies. Americans know instinctively that their economic struggles are not due to the success of others. It’s one thing to attack the amorphous 1 percent. It’s quite another to hector real people and companies. The president’s “middle-class economics” is not economics so much as a jerry-rigged political agenda designed to take the focus off his administration’s terrible economic performance. Much as some unpopular leaders manufacture crises abroad to divert their citizens’ attention from problems on the home front, so does Mr. Obama and his class warriors tell Americans that their economic misfortune is the fault of others.



Apple leads a vibrant tech sector in America that along with the energy industry is creating jobs for thousands of Americans and value for its stockholders, including pension funds owned by middle-class citizens. There’s also the terrific new products the company makes available to citizens of average means. (Quick: Who produces more value for America, Apple or Obamacare and the IRS?)

Max Scherzer’s contract is testament to the vibrant growth of major league baseball and professional sports, again with attendant jobs created in the stadiums, in broadcasting and other affiliated industries, as well as entertainment viewing for Americans. (What would you rather watch — the Super Bowl or Mr. Obama’s next State of the Union address?)

Even the Oscars with its overdone limousines, red carpet, make-up and dresses, not to mention the gift bags, represent a vibrant entertainment industry that exports American culture around the world and provides enjoyment for middle-class Americans.

Yet, if we are to believe the rhetoric of the class warriors, punishing success must be the No. 1 goal of federal budget and tax policies.

A real middle-class economic program would involve major changes in the Obama economic agenda. The president’s Federal Reserve chairman would reverse her bias against savings and let interest rates find market levels, giving savers decent returns on their bank balances and CDs. He would end his crusade to shackle job creators with endless regulations to implement Obamacare, climate change and Dodd Frank. Most importantly, Mr. Obama would focus on policies to grow the economy, not redistribute a smaller pie. It cannot be repeated too often that the recovery of the past six years has been the weakest since World War II with few new net jobs created.

These are the real causes of rising income inequality — all are man-made.

The brutal fact is that six years of Mr. Obama’s liberal policies have accentuated the divide between rich and poor. More federal handouts won’t solve the problem. Sadly, this administration is more concerned with creating a political narrative for Democrats in 2016 than an economic one for America for the long term.

Frank J. Donatelli is a former assistant to President Reagan for political and intergovernmental affairs, past deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee and past chairman of GOPAC.

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