July 9, 2010

At Heritage: ‘Obama Is Anti-Business’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:06 am

Readers here will say, “What else is new?”

What’s new is that a lot of people who should have known better — and would have known better, had they paid attention to the myriad warnings from the center-right new media for almost two years before the 2008 presidential election (or perhaps their hubris led them to believe “we can work with him anyway”) — have figured it out (internal links are in original):

It looks like the Obama spin machine is at it again, this time launching a concerted effort to rebut reports this week that President Barack Obama is anti-business. But given Obama’s record of stoking government intervention in the private sector and creating an environment of uncertainty poisonous to business growth, hiring and expansion, it’s no wonder the President is branded with an anti-business scarlet letter.

The storyline began in The Washington Post, where columnist Fareed Zakaria endeavored to find out why America’s 500 largest nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, rather than spending it on expansion (which would mean new jobs). Business leaders told Zakaria that it comes down to economic uncertainty surrounding new laws, regulations and taxes; the expansion of federal agencies’ authority; and the unknown implications of Obamacare, financial reform and cap-and-trade. And the kicker? Zakaria notes that most of them had voted for Obama yet all of them now believe he is “at his core, anti-business.”

Others joined the chorus, too. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said, “By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.” And then there’s Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, who reportedly said of Obama, “business did not like the U.S. president and the president did not like business.” The only surprise here should be how long it’s taken business leaders to speak out about Washington’s runaway train intervention in the marketplace, all in the name of creating new jobs.

Under President Obama, that intervention began with an $862 billion stimulus, and it was joined by a failed Cash for Clunkers program, a government takeover of the domestic auto industry, a bailout of Fannie and Freddie that may hit $1 trillion, a visceral attack on private sector compensation, a government takeover of health care and, now, financial regulation reform which is said to be riddled with unintended consequences. What next? Cap-and-trade hangs heavily on the horizon, as does the prospect of a value added tax, which Heritage’s J.D. Foster says will “recast the nation into a full state of dependency on Washington.”

The whining from GE’s Inmelt is particularly risible, given his 12 visits to the White House and his attempts to make his company perhaps the largest beneficiary of the Obama regime’s crony pseudo-capitalism. What he’s really saying is that he’s upset that everyone else isn’t willing to play along like GE so obviously is, and that maybe our Punk President and his Institutionalized Gangster Government would treat business better if they did. Sure Jeff.

Let’s just hope that for the rest it’s not too little too late, that it’s sincere, and that they can’t be bought off by ever more opulent de facto corporate welfare. All three items are in doubt.

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