ColoradoBiz magazine picks Barack Obama

President: Barack Obama

We endorsed George W. Bush four years ago, calling for a fresh economic agenda in light of ominous signs on the horizon. We asked George Bush for economic leadership.

Today, we’re contemplating the wreckage of the U.S. housing market and investment banking community. U.S. taxpayers now fund or guarantee loans to failing capitalist enterprises.

Federal spending, debt and deficits are at historic highs. Core inflation is a nagging problem. Inflation on energy and food is a national obsession.

Unemployment — job creation — is a concern. If a recession does materialize, or has, it would be during time of war, a dubious achievement for any economy.

Our currency is devalued. It’s underreported in this election cycle, but for decades a strong dollar was emblematic of American financial power. Not today.

And there’s Iraq. Set aside “why” for a moment. The financial impact of the war has been staggering. Incalculable at this time, really. One legacy of the war will be the massive transfer of American wealth overseas, into foreign hands.

Republicans should own the debate on the economy in most elections. The broad policy framework favored by business interests including this magazine generally aligns more with the right than the left.

Not always. And nothing personal. But the GOP would likely win in November if only business owners and executives voted.

Our endorsement of Barack Obama for president is an indication of how far we believe the current Republican leadership, including John McCain, has lost sight of this framework and the outcomes it seeks.

Meaningful federal reform for Colorado business entails prioritizing a balanced federal budget and a less-involved government. That includes free trade — a strengthening of NAFTA — combined with a return to diplomacy to open new markets for American products and services, and a strong dollar.

It entails meaningful immigration reform; regulatory reform; and reform of our collective entitlement albatross.

It entails a massive effort to de-politicize federal decisions, like decoupling science and research from the “values” discussion.

It entails embracing the “new energy” economy in addition to exploration and drilling, and sacrificing votes to make changes in how health care, Social Security, farm subsidies, and more, are funded.

Though well-intentioned,we don’t believe the Arizona senator will be an effective reformer. As we write, McCain seems unclear whether the economy is on solid ground or at risk, a view we doubt is shared by most American taxpayers, now on the hook for a trillion dollar bailout. McCain’s impetuous call to fire the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission also underscores our view that effective reform first requires a clear view of what, or in this case, who, needs reforming. On matters of the economy, Sen. McCain leaves us guessing.

Barack Obama may be a flawed economic candidate. But if elected he’ll likely be in a position to succeed if he acts decisively. He’s been on the right side of the massive regulatory mess, in large part, and for those who bother to look, he’s communicated a plan that could, if implemented, support small business — Colorado’s economic staple. Whether he acts, if elected, is another matter.

American workers aren’t whiners. They suffer at the expense of bad management — in business and in government. They deserve better.