Back in June we blogged about the Business Roundtable’s withering assessment of President Obama’s approach toward American businesses. Things haven’t improved.
To the contrary: resistance to the President’s economic agenda has been spreading throughout the business community, affecting even groups and leaders who supported both Candidate and President Obama. Runaway “stimulus” spending with no discernible results, a new health care bureaucracy that’s already adding to costs, and credit that’s harder to come by now due to financial “reform” have finally taken a toll on employers’ faith in the President. Now that he needs their support to buck up his economic cred ahead of the midterms, they’re balking.
Recently the President appointed an “Export Council” of corporate CEOs as part of what the Washington Post calls a “charm offensive” to blunt accusations that he is anti-business. However, it has not distracted them from the fact (noted by the Post) that “not a single former corporate executive is in his Cabinet or among his top economic advisers.” With the exception of the handful of executives on the Export Council itself, business leaders aren’t charmed:
- President Obama has nurtured “an increasingly hostile environment for investment and job creation…” – Ivan Seidenberg (Verizon), chairman of the Business Roundtable
- “…cumulative job-killing impact of over-regulation…” – Thomas Donohue (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
- “[G]overnment and entrepreneurs are not in sync… Our policy is uncertainty… I’d say status quo for this country is a losing hand.” – Jeff Immelt (General Electric)
- “The truth is that not even the Franklin Roosevelt administration was as hostile to and ignorant about free enterprise as this administration is.” – Steve Forbes (Forbes, Inc.)
- “Unless small-business owners are able to secure financing, we will continue to see high unemployment.” – Ted McCracken (National Small Business Association)
McCracken added that small businesses were having a harder time securing loans than at any time in the last 17 years.
President Obama, for his part, has proclaimed that small businesses “will lead this recovery.” Not under an administration like his, they won’t, until the President learns to leave them alone. It’s been said that in France during the 17th century, the King’s finance minister (what is it about this administration that makes people think of old-guard French royalty?) once asked a group of French businessmen how the government could come to their aid. These smart and independent men, who understood free markets, responded, “Laissez-nous faire,” which translates roughly into English as, “Leave us be.” The philosophy of “laissez-faire” became a well-regarded economic approach: let those who know best run their businessses, and keep government out of their way.
The contemporary version of the message would be, “Back off,” and the President had better heed it fast. Let’s start with the simple bill I proposed last week, to suspend any further implementation of the new health law. This would immediately reassure our businesses and employers that they won’t be penalized for hiring and for growing. The growing ranks of our unemployed desperately need that boost.