That is the provocative question asked by Peter Schweizer at Big Peace. I think the answer is No, but let’s let Peter explain why the question arises at all:
That may seem like an absurd question, but it’s hard to come to any other conclusion when you consider what is happening to our energy industry on the Gulf Coast. As the Wall Street Journal reports today, the Obama Administration may have lifted its ban on drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, but there are still long delays in getting other permits approved to drill for oil. Why? No one seems to know. We assume that politicians do what is in their own self-interest, but in this case Obama seems to be damaging himself because he is dragging down the economy. As the Journal puts it, “The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity.” And Obama doesn’t seem particularly eager to change that fact.
Schweizer recalls Bobby Jindal’s bizarre encounter with President Obama at the height of the Gulf oil spill crisis:
In his recently released book Leadership and Crisis, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recounts an exchange with President Obama during the Gulf oil drilling moratorium. (Full disclosure: I co-wrote the book with Jindal.) After telling Obama that the moratorium would potentially cost tens of thousands of jobs, “The president went on to assure me that anyone who lost their job would get a check from BP. When I explained that BP might not write them checks because it was the federal government that imposed the moratorium the president said, ‘Well, if BP won’t pay the claim, they can file for unemployment.’ I was amazed by the level of disconnect. The people of Louisiana want to work, not collect unemployment or BP checks.”
For Obama, getting an unemployment check is about the same as getting paycheck.
What I think emerges here is President Obama’s astonishing ignorance of economics, which is to say, how the world works. I don’t think he is intentionally trying to damage our economy, simply because he knows that he has no chance of being re-elected unless the economy rebounds. At the same time, I think he is so appallingly ignorant of how wealth is created that he believes killing off jobs, as his administration has done along the Gulf Coast, is no big deal. The lost wealth will magically recreate itself, perhaps in the form of unemployment benefits. I think that Obama really does not understand the difference between receiving a paycheck in exchange for creating wealth, and getting a government handout in exchange for nothing. But then, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.