Give Obama a Chance

Tom Henry: Confession of a KillerThe joke goes like this: A guy jumps off the top of the Empire State Building. A woman in a 74th floor apartment has her window open. As the jumper plummets by, she hears him remark, “So far, so good.”

I thought of this joke recently, when the US economy improved and the unemployment rate fell below 8% for the first time in Obama’s presidency, forcing Governor Romney to abandon his favorite attack—that Obama’s unemployment rate had never been below 8%—and pivot to saying the rate was now the same as when Obama was sworn in, so there’d been no progress.

That struck me—a businessman—as most dishonest.

In accounting, the two most important measures of financial value are the balance sheet and the profit & loss statement (P&L). The balance sheet tells you how the company looks now. The P&L tells you how the company has done over time. The balance sheet is a snapshot; the P&L is a movie. Acquisition specialists evaluating a company will view the snapshot, sure, but they really want to watch the movie.

To illustrate this, let’s return to our New York jumper. If, as he’s passing the 74th floor, you take a photo, you see a guy at the 74th floor. But if you’ve been running a movie camera since he jumped, you see a guy in free fall. That’s why the overheard comment—“so far, so good”—is funny. You know it won’t be “so good” for long.

In the year before President Obama was sworn in, national employment fell from 95% to 92.2% (5% to 7.8% unemployment). During the next nine months it continued to fall, then stopped and gradually climbed to the level it was when Obama began (see chart below)—at which point Romney declared there’d been zero progress.


This, coming from a man who’d been spectacularly successful buying and selling businesses, seemed to me the height of disingenuousness.

He was comparing the snapshots, ignoring the movies, and hoping no one noticed. The snapshots were identical. The movies were quite different. The same employment numbers, but two very different trends—a free fall versus a steady climb. Mitt Romney would have been thrilled to buy the first economy and sell the second.

All candidates tell lies to get elected. I understand. It’s part of the game. But there are lies and there are lies. Mr. Romney’s strength—the thing about him I valued most—was his business acumen, and for him to pretend to misunderstand that … that was the lie that cost him my trust and caused me to vote to give Obama the chance to finish what he started.

Thank you for viewing my blog. Please return often. I value your comments.


David Hendricks

Like Author Hendricks on FacebookFollow Author Hendricks on Twitter

13 thoughts on “Give Obama a Chance”

  1. What if you factor in all those who have left the work force completely as well as the huge increase in the number of people on government assistance? Do you maintain that things have been steadily improving? Would you explain because I really don’t understand. Neither do I understand how you as a businessman can support this complete lack of discipline when it comes to a budget and spending. If I did that in my personal life I would be sunk a hundred times over. Open to your thoughts.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I’m no economist, but it does seem to me our economy is improving. Employment is growing steadily; the housing market is stronger–I’m now selling my homes because prices have risen and the market is hot–business equity has risen (Dow Jones went from 12,221.19 on January 1 to 12,858.78 now), which is a rise of a bit over 5% for 10 months, or about 6 1/4″ annualized. Not great, but the trend is good.
      That said, I don’t really believe any president can affect the economy much. I neither credit Obama for the recovery nor blame Bush for the mess. I don’t blame Obama for the stimulus–I think it had to be done and probably saved us from a second great depression–and I don’t blame Bush for the housing crisis. Again, as president he didn’t cause it. He couldn’t have. For more on that, read Michael Lewis’s fantastic book, The Big Short.
      But the point of my blog wasn’t that I voted for Obama because the economy is strong, but that I did so as a reaction to a lie by Mitt Romney, a person I had previously respected and who I was sure must have known he was lying.

      1. David, could you really change your entire political views based on one lie? If you stand firm on your own beliefs then how could you have flip flopped completely from believing in the republican agenda to switching to the democratic aganda? I am not judging you, and i wont pretend to know a lot about politics but I can’t see throwing all of your beliefs out the window because a person changed their wording on their political stand-off with their opponent.

        1. Deborah, sorry for the delay. I was out of the country.
          Thanks for your comments. They helped create a balanced dialog, and that’s always good. I understand your worry about future health care costs. I applaud you for offering your employees insurance. When I was in business, I provided health insurance as well, and I noticed over a decade that the cost rose every year. I feel sorry for responsible business people who feel crushed between their social responsibility and their business bills.
          I’m glad for your comments balancing mine because, well–just because I wrote a book and started a blog doesn’t give me any kind of corner on knowledge. I have an opinion, and I expressed it, but I value yours and that of others and I’m rarely certain I’m right in things that aren’t objectively measurable.
          As to your second comment about how I could have changed “entire political views” just because of one lie, it’s a fair question, but it comes from a misunderstanding that was my fault. My blog didn’t explain that, while I’m a registered independent, and I always vote a split ticket, I had not, since emerging from my prison experience–which turned me into a Democrat, from which I’ve slowly moved toward the right, but not so far right as I used to be before my incarceration–ever voted for a Republican for president. But this time I was considering it because of Romney’s business experience. We do have fiscal problems!
          It was from that position that I turned back to vote for Obama upon my discovering the lie that, in my opinion, Mr. Romney had to know was a lie. But you might well be right that I overreacted.
          Thanks for your kind comments on my book. You asked about the paperback. It should only be a few weeks away, definitely before Christmas, and probably very early December. We’ll post a notice to our website subscribers when it’s available.

          1. David, thank you for your reply. You mentioned being out of the country….did you go to Texas?? (lol). Back to politics, I don’t vote straight ballot either. But I do lean more towards Christian values, freedom and who will spend less tax payer dollars on unnecessary things. What is your take on welfare? I am worried about Obama’s outlook on handouts. How did prison.change your political views? Was it from loosing faith and therefore moral issues are not as important? (not prying)
            Thank you for the info on your book. I’m looking forward to buying a couple hard copy. Any chance of two autographed copies??? I am only able to read in the evenings but I am now on chapter 11. Henry seems like someone I could like. Your book really brings out a personality.
            God Bless

          2. Deborah, I liked your Texas comment.
            You ask how prison changed my political views. There’s an old quip that goes like this: A Democrat is a Republican who’s been arrested. That pretty much explains it.
            Yes, I did lose my faith, which I discuss in the book, but even so, I’ve always been thankful for the Christian values my parents instilled in me.
            Regarding the book, I’ll be happy to sign copies of the paperback for you. You can send them to me for signing or I can buy them and sign them, then send to you.
            (We might offer signed books on Amazon. Not sure yet.)
            All the best.

  2. David, I admire that you are a business man. So are we. We have had a small business for nearly 15 years here in Pekin Il. We haven’t made millions but we are better off than we were 16 years ago and our handfull of employees are important to us. That is why we can not give Obama a chance. We pay 65% of each participating employee’s health insurance. It is increasingly hard to find affordable insurance and according to my insurance agent I can expect the cost for the young people’s premium to only increase, as there can be no discriminating between young and old. The youthpremium will then be raised to the premium rate of the older participant. There are so many things about his agenda that are frightening. I am honestly afraid of what is around the corner. while your message does hold much truth, Romney isn’t the only one who is not completely truthful.
    I do want to say that I am really enjoying your book. It is such an easy read and it is very entertaining. Henry seems like such a character. Is the book in paper print? My father would love a copy and it would make a great gift for him.
    God Bless

    1. Hi David,
      I don’t completely understand the old quip about democrats are republicans that have been arrested. But I understand that different life experiances will make people lean more one way than the other.
      I am really enjoying the book. I am on chapter 23 and I am not wanting to finish too quickly. I am going to really miss it when I am done reading it.
      As far as getting a signed copy, if Amazon doesn’t sell them, I would be happy to send you a money order for the amount needed to purchase and send the books. This way they will not be delayed by being sent to me and then on to you. I really thank you for the offer. My father is who alerted me to the fact that you had a book coming out. We have been waiting since the article by Phil Luciano.
      Have a great day. God Bless.

      1. Deborah, I’m glad you’re reading my book and it’s kind of you to say you’re enjoying doing so.
        The book printing company doesn’t think the paperback will be ready in time for me to get them, sign them and send them to Amazon to sell before Christmas, but they are pretty sure they’ll be here in time for me to send a couple your way. The problem is my wife and I are traveling to Asia for Christmas. I’ll know for sure in a couple weeks if the books are going to arrive before I leave. If so, I’ll alert you. But don’t send that money order until I know I can fulfil the book order. Non-signed books will definitely be availabe on Amazon in time for Christmas, they tell me. The problem is it’ll be hard for me to sign books from Asia. My arm’s too short.
        An early Merry Christmas to you!

        1. Seriously? You can’t stretch your arm that far for just one day, and make my christmas nice?
          I hope your trip is safe for you and your wife. I will be watching for the book to be out in paperback. If it is not autographed that is alright. I will send one to you after the Holidays when you have time. I thank you for the time in responding to my many comments.
          I am enjoying your blog about your father. It is very nicely written and shows the love your family have for him.
          God Bless

          1. Deborah, I only hope the paperback book is in time. We talked to the printer today and they are badly backlogged, but if begging and pleading mean anything, we should be OK.
            Thanks for the nice words regarding my blog about my father.
            Happy Thanksgiving.

          2. No worries at all. The book will make a great gift any time it is available. The Christmas target was simply to make my shopping for my father easy but he will enjoy it when ever he gets it. Enjoyyour trip to Asia. My.husband would love to take me to just Hawaii but I won’t get on a plane. I am terrified, not of flying as much as FALLING!!!! I can’t imagine ASIA!!!
            Enjoy your thanksgiving.

Leave a Reply