For some reason President Obama has us thinking of Marissa Mayer, Bill Ackman and Mark Zuckerberg.
“You didn’t build that,” Mr. Obama explained to the nation’s entrepreneurs, and has been explaining ever since. He only meant to say we need government as well as private initiative, and who could disagree? This argument is anodyne, dispositive of nothing that is in dispute.
Of course, it also comes as a defense of policies that all run in one direction: bigger government, higher taxes. It comes against the background of a re-election campaign whose calculated aim is to portray a respected business leader as a criminal.
Ironically, it came in the same week his party in Congress was admitting paralysis to do anything for economic growth and demanding adventurous new actions from Ben Bernanke to reawaken the risk appetites of America’s entrepreneurs and consumers.
We’re a lucky country, and not just because we have a treasure like Mr. Obama. Behavioral economics tells us that people are more risk averse than they should be. In France, the best and brightest aspire to sinecures in government-controlled corporations. Even with their many complaints about the U.S., foreign leaders are constantly telling us they envy America’s entrepreneurial prowess.