My Uncle Bob is a funny guy. He seldom reads, preferring to get his information from talk radio and Fox News. Despite often times irrefutable evidence to the contrary, he’s hell-bent on believing what he wants to believe. For example, Uncle Bob thinks President Obama is not a United States citizen. Oh, and our President is a Muslim!
Call me a masochist, but I rather enjoy discussing, OK arguing, politics with Uncle Bob. A few days ago, we were on the topic of who would be a better president over the next four years. Uncle Bob, voice raised, says, “Of course Romney would be better. Any moron should know that! He’s got lots of business experience. That Obama guy never owned a business.”
I guess Uncle Bob believes, that because Romney himself has touted his business experience a zillion times since he began running for president eight years ago, it must be true. It’s beyond me how anyone could consider “dismembering acquired companies and throwing folks out of work” business experience, but apparently some people do. Uncle Bob sure does.
Well, l had to admit that the economy was still in the doldrums from the worst crash since the Great Depression. I knew it would do little good for me to explain how President Obama inherited an economic mess, and things were slowly getting better. Been there, done that, FAILED. Anyway, Uncle Bob got me wondering whether prior business experience really gives a president a “one up” when it comes to guiding our nation’s economy? So, I did some research and what I found was rather interesting.
I couldn’t wait to share my results with Uncle Bob. So, I go over to his house, and even before we went through the usual perfunctory greeting, I say to him, “Do you know we’ve had ten presidents since 1960? Of those, only three had any business experience prior to taking office: Jimmy Carter (peanut farm owner), George H. W. Bush (oil business), and George W. Bush (oil business and co-owner of the Texas Rangers). Since 1960, the GDP grew the most under the three administrations of President Kennedy (5.66%), President Johnson (4.24%) and President Clinton (3.64%). The slowest growth occurred during the administrations of President Carter (2.72%), President George H.W. Bush (1.96%) and George W. Bush (1.42%). Hum, so much for business experience! Even Mitt Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts belies your ‘a businessman is best theory.’ During that time, Massachusetts’ job growth was 47th in the nation, it had the 2nd largest labor force decline in the nation, and it lost 14% of its manufacturing jobs.”
I was pretty proud of myself and thought I had Uncle Bob just where I wanted him. He looks at me dumbfounded and utters, “Governor Romney should be president because he’s got business experience!” Uncle Bob’s a funny guy!