Thursday, July 21, 2011

Business Leaders Take On Obama

IBD: What's the single biggest impediment to job growth today?
Marcus: The U.S. government.  Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with.  Home Depot would never have succeeded if we'd tried to start it today.  Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business.  And I mean every day.  It's become stifling.
If you're a small businessman, the only way to deal with it is to work harder, put in more hours, and let people go.  When you consider that something like 70% of the American people work for small businesses, you are talking about a big economic impact.
IBD: President Obama has promised to streamline and eliminate regulations.  What's your take?
Marcus: His speeches are wonderful.  His output is absolutely, incredibly bad.  As he speaks about cutting out regulations, they are now producing thousands of pages of new ones.  With just ObamaCare by itself, you have a 2,000 page bill that's probably going end up being 150,000 pages of regulations.
IBD: If you could sit down with Obama and talk to him about job creation, what would you say?
Marcus: I'm not sure Obama would understand anything that I'd say, because he's never really worked a day outside the political or legal area.  He doesn't know how to make a payroll, he doesn't understand the problems businesses face.  I would try to explain that the plight of the businessman is very reactive to Washington.  As Washington piles on regulations and mandates, the impact is tremendous.  I don't think he's a bad guy.  I just think he has no knowledge of this.
This is after Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, went on a tirade a few days ago in Business Insider:
And I'm saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime.  And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right.  A President that seems, that keeps using that word redistribution.  Well, my customers and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administrationAnd it makes you slow down and not invest your money.  Everybody complains about how much money is on the side in America. . . .
The guy keeps making speeches about redistribution and maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don't invest, their holding too much money.  We haven't heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists.  Everybody's afraid of the government and there's no need soft peddling it, it's the truth.  It is the truth.  And that's true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid.  I support Democrats and Republicans.  And I'm telling you that the business community in this company is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States.  And until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs.
One can but hope that we are seeing a trend.

Update:  Bryan Preston of Pajamas Media picks up on the same interviews, with added comments of his own, and also includes a report from the Heritage Foundation:
In March 2010, Congress passed President Obama’s health care reform legislation. . . . 
The law discourages employers from hiring in several ways:
  • Businesses with fewer than 50 workers have a strong incentive to maintain this size, which allows them to avoid the mandate to provide government-approved health coverage or face a penalty;
  • Businesses with more than 50 workers will see their costs for health coverage rise—they must purchase more expensive government-approved insurance or pay a penalty; and
  • Employers face considerable uncertainty about what constitutes qualifying health coverage and what it will cost. They also do not know what the health care market or their health care costs will look like in four years. This makes planning for the future difficult. . . .
The economy is experiencing an unusually slow recovery.  While the labor market improved steadily from January 2009 to April 2010, it suddenly stalled in May.  This coincided with the passage of President Obama’s health care overhaul, which significantly raised both the costs and uncertainty involved for businesses providing employer-sponsored health insurance.  Many businesses report that this legislation is holding back hiring.  The data suggest that these complaints are not idle.
Update:  And now Bryan Preston adds another hit (apparently by way of Andrew Breitbart), this time from Jonathan Chait of the left-wing New Republic, in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, in which Chait admits that "Obama hasn’t put any real spending cut proposals out for the public to digest".  Preston continues with:
[Chait] admits that Obama and the Democrats don’t want to cut a dime of spending next year.  They want to cut it “over the next ten years,” which is Washingtonspeak for “never,” but they won’t cut it when it counts -- right now, when they’re accountable.
Preston posts the actual interview for your listening pleasure.

Maybe that trend thing is working, and this time from the Left, no less.

Update: An IBD editorial a few days ago racks up a few more names along with Wynn:
3M's George Buckley: "We know what his instincts are," Buckley said. "We've got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada or Mexico -- which tends to be more pro-business -- and America," he told the Financial Times.
Boeing's Jim McNerney, who in the Wall Street Journal last May called Obama's handpicked National Labor Relations Board's suit against his company a "fundamental assault on the capitalist principles that have sustained America's competitiveness since it became the world's largest economy nearly 140 years ago."
Intel's Paul Otellini, who told CNET last August that the U.S. legal environment has become so hostile to business that there is likely to be "an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we're seeing today in Europe -- this is the bitter truth."

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