Today, President Obama is meeting with an organization notorious for laundering Chinese money in an effort to corrupt American politics -- or so I'm led to believe by administration ally Center for American Progress.
This visit will spur a slew of articles on how Obama is "tacking to the center," becoming more "pro-business," and "mending relationships." This will mostly be bunk. The president is still selling the same Big Government product he's been peddling since the stimulus, and the Chamber is still buying the same corporatist product it's been buying since, well, the stimulus.
Here's what I wrote after the State of the Union:
Using capitalist buzzwords like "investment," Obama called for more government spending on research and continued government subsidy of "green" technology like solar panels and electric cars.
So it's not capitalism, but it's also not the "Marxism" with which many conservative pundits have charged Obama. You can call it corporate socialism or corporatism.
It's also economic nationalism. In Obama's America Inc., vision, all of the United States is competing against China, Germany, India and Spain in Olympic solar panel making, the biotechnology sprints, and the manufacturing relay.
Obama sounded this note as early as last April: "If we stand on the sidelines," he told a crowd of exporters last April, "while they [China and Germany] go after those customers, we'll lose out on the chance to create the good jobs our workers need right here at home. That's why standing on the sidelines is not what we intend to do. ... We need to up our game." Obama's "game," of course, is subsidies and bailouts.
Because so many in the media believe in the Big Myth -- that Big Business and Big Government are polar opposites -- they'll make the same mistake Rachel Maddow made after the State of the Union, confusing corporatist talk for capitalist talk. The media also get confused because they believe the Chamber of Commerce is a pro-free-market group -- which it is not.
But Michelle Malkin understands the difference:
When businesses get in the government handout line, it’s not a “public-private partnership.”
It’s corporate welfare — and it stinks as much under Democrat administrations as it does under Republican ones.
It goes without saying that American entrepreneurs should be beware of White House business-bashers bearing gifts.
But so, too, should taxpayers beware of Washington business-boosters wearing false free-market facades.