Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Last fall, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon showed White House staff a chart comparing the percentage of cabinet secretaries and top aides with business experience under administrations going back to Teddy Roosevelt. President Barack Obama had the fewest by far.
“The fundamental problem is the sense the president doesn’t consider business a noble profession,” said Steve Reinemund, former PepsiCo Inc. CEO and now dean of the Wake Forest University School of Business.
Companies from Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest consumer-products producer, to Caterpillar Inc., the largest maker of construction and mining equipment, have gone public with their criticisms of the administration. Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group LP, likened the administration’s efforts to double taxes on the income of private equity firms such as his to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939,” according to a New York Post account of a private meeting. Schwarzman apologized for the comparison while maintaining his criticism of the tax proposal.
“The business community is about as alienated from a government as I have ever seen it,” Mort Zuckerman, the 73- year-old chief executive officer of Boston Properties Inc., said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Sept. 10.
The Bloomberg Global Poll last month found 77 percent of U.S.-based Bloomberg subscribers say Obama is too anti-business, and his favorability among the 1,408 investors worldwide is down to 49 percent from 73 percent in July 2009.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest business lobbying group, issued a list of regulations imposed by Obama on health care, energy, the environment and labor that it says are curbing hope for an economic recovery.
“The regulatory impact on the business community is pervasive, insidious, and needs to be exposed,” Chamber President Tom Donohue said in a speech in Des Moines, Iowa. “It is suffocating the entrepreneurial spirit.”
Companies’ main complaints center on Obama’s efforts to overhaul rules for Wall Street, raise taxes on overseas income, tighten environmental reviews and rework pending free-trade agreements. It’s a breadth of hard feelings not seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt presided over the New Deal in the 1930s, said Bruce Buchanan, a professor of government at the University of Texas in Austin.
“It was similar for FDR, which was the period of the last great re-regulation of the economy,” said Buchanan, who is writing a book on presidential accountability. “And there is an element of hurt feelings to it as well, which surprises me.”
In some cases business leaders say they have been more ignored than harmed. IBM said it would analyze health-care spending, at no cost to the government, to hunt out fraud, Sam Palmisano, the company’s CEO, said at a conference in New York on Sept. 14. The White House wouldn’t sign on to the plan.
“We offered to do it for free to prove a point, and they turned us down,” Palmisano said. “Our recommendations weren’t aligned with the priorities of the administration. Their priority was not to reduce fraud and improve productivity. It was to increase coverage.”
The Obama administration also has cut off access for Mexican trucks to the U.S., which violated the North American Free Trade Agreement and prompted Mexico to retaliate with duties on $2.5 billion of American-made imports.
The result? P&G stopped making Crest toothpaste for the Mexican market at a plant in Iowa, shifting production south of the border, Robert McDonald, the chief executive officer of P&G, said in an interview.
“Congratulations, Mr. President,” McDonald said.
Obama doesn't consider business a noble profession
In case you were still doubting about the socialisation of the US that occurred during the past 70 years, that Obama is the closest person to FDR, and that we are in the beginning phases of the Greater Depression, here are some actual figures and interesting information: